One of the many perks of being a young professional in Springfield is the opportunity to have a seat at the table and to let your voice be heard. Members of The Network had the opportunity to do just that at one of the City of Springfield’s recent Forward SGF workshops.
The City recently began work on a new 20-year comprehensive plan with Chicago-based consulting firm Housel Lavigne Associates. The current phase of the process will last 18-24 months and is designed to gather public input from as many sources as possible. The City has already hosted several workshops throughout the community to gather input, and since this plan will guide the city for the next two decades, community leaders recognized the importance of having input from young professionals – so one natural place to turn was The Network.
City staff facilitated a workshop just for nearly 60 young professionals in attendance, allowing them to openly share ideas, aspirations and concerns about our community.
The afternoon started by defining what a comprehensive plan is and all of the steps in involved to complete one.
City staff then took participants through four prompts:
• Identify five issues or concerns facing the Springfield community
• Choose the top three issues that were most important to them – some of the top responses included lack of diversity and inclusion, drugs and crime, low wages and lack of city identity
• Identify three specific projects or actions that you would like to see undertaken to improve Springfield – there were a lot of great ideas for projects, including connecting all the Ozark Greenways trails, more focus on community health, and bringing more destination retail to the area
• Identify the primary strengths and assets of the SGF community – participants touted the amazing collaborative spirit we have as a community, the abundance of outdoor opportunities here, the amount of big-name businesses and much more
It was an inspiring afternoon to hear from young professionals about their ideas for the future of our community. While this is just the beginning of the process, young professionals are ready to hit the ground and help move Springfield forward.