Many of the topics and principles embedded in this project were formulated during the almost three years of comprehensive community outreach and engagement efforts that resulted in South Bend's 20-year comprehensive City Plan.
Some of the key enagement tools from City Plan
The American City Guest Speaker Series (2003 and 2004) - Two guest speaker series used doing Phase I and Phase II of the planning process to raise awareness in the community and educate the public on important planning concepts. The presentations were well attended by the general public and government decision makers. Attendance averaged approximately 175 people per presentation.
Creation of the Civic Alliance - To integrate public participation into the planning process, the Mayor appointed the City Plan Civic Alliance, comprised of 50 individuals from a broad cross-section of the community. The Civic Alliance provided the means formally to incorporate diverse perspectives into the planning process and gave professional planners and other City officials and area experts the point of view of “citizen planners.”
Phase I Visioning Sessions: The first public meetings were visioning sessions held at handicapped accessible locations throughout the community: three meetings in each Common Council district, one on the Indiana University South Bend campus, another on the University of Notre Dame campus, and another to gather input from fifth grade students at a local parochial school –21 meetings in all. At all meetings the participants were asked to envision the community they would like South Bend to be in the year 2025. The result of these sessions, attended by more than 600 residents, was compiled in a document titled Elements of a Vision for South Bend (February 2004).
Additional Engagement through the process: The chronology below lists the process and the more than 100 other feedback sessions from community during the process and report back sesssions.