One of the biggest questions for any city government is: What do the members of the community want for their city and its future?There are many ways to gather this information — everything from surveys and open houses to knocking on doors and email campaigns. But what to do with all that information once they have it? And how to turn it into some kind of action?That’s where master plans come in.“We’re always trying to tap into ways to find out what the public wants to do,” said Travis Parker, director of Lakewood’s Planning Department. “We want to get as much inclusion as possible.”The city is nearing the finishing line on updating two of its master plans — Imagine Lakewood!, which covers the community resources department, and the Heritage Center Master Plan.“This plan is how we know the community’s priorities for spending the city’s money,” said Allison Scheck, public engagement and operations manager with the community resources department. “It lets us be more strategic in what we’re doing, and what projects we need to pursue.”For some of the city’s bigger plans, like its comprehensive plan, an update usually happens about once every 10 years. For individual departments, the update typically comes on their own discretion.The method for getting the public input for these updates has seen some changes, according to Parker. While the best feedback still comes from in-person interaction, the internet is allowing staff to be creative.“We’ve seen good use from our Lakewood Speaks website, where people can get the entire hearing process online,” he said. “The best plans are truly community products, and the more participation we get, the more it’s a real community plan.”
PROGRESS: The efforts to update the city's Community Resources master plan are nearing the finish line, with the last of its public meetings being held on Aug. 29 and 30.
The process for updating the plan began in January of this year, and the final draft will be presented to city council this fall.
LAST TIME UPDATED: 2008
GOALS OF THE UPDATE: More than 2,000 residents have voiced their opinions on the future of the city's Lakewood parks, recreation, arts and cultural locations.The department has taken all this feedback and turned it into six goals, including meeting the needs of the community by offering a variety of high quality and engaging programs, services and initiatives; creating an inspiring, safe and pleasant experience in parks and facilities; and responding to community needs through the addition of new facilities and amenities.
WHAT THEY SAY: "One of the things we heard a lot about was the dog situation in the city, including creating an off-leash dog park, and making sure people clean up after their pets. We've also heard about interest in some kind of water recreation destination, with things like water slides and more.
"The No. 1 reason we heard that people don't participate in our events is that they don't know about it, so that's a big thing we're going to be working on."
— Allison Scheck, public engagement and operations manager with the community resources department
TO SEE THE PLAN: www.Lakewood.org/Imagine
PROGRESS: The efforts to update the master plan for the Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St., are in the final stages, with the final draft being presented at a public open house on Sept. 6.
The process for updating the plan began in the fall of 2016, and the final draft will be presented to city council this fall.
LAST TIME UPDATED: 1996
GOALS OF THE UPDATE: It has been 20 years since the master plan for the Heritage Center was last updated, and a lot has changed at the center in those two decades.
Part of the impetus for the update came from the fact that Lakewood is approaching its 50th anniversary, and the center's staff are looking at ways to mark half a century of existence.
There have been 10 goals identified in the plan, including expanding the Lakewood Heritage Center interpretive stories to be inclusive of the entire 20th-century time period; becoming a critical and accessible resource for historic information related to Lakewood; and advancing and sustaining the Museum and Heritage Center site through new funding sources.
WHAT THEY SAY: "We're going to be looking at ways to expand our programs, and going into the 50th, we're going to be focusing on the incorporation of the city, the role the Denver Federal Center played for Lakewood, and health, wellness and open spaces in Lakewood."We want to expand our themes and create community conversations through the center."— Michelle Nierling, Heritage, Culture and the Arts manager
TO SEE THE PLAN: www.lakewood.org/LHCPlan
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