Imagine Fox Cities, a new, inclusive community-wide initiative created to assist in intentionally shaping the future of the Fox Cities to improve individual and collective well-being, has drafted a survey and will hold a variety of listening sessions called Community Conversations.
“We’re talking about a several generation vision, not a five year plan or a ten year plan,” Imagine Fox Cities Coordinating Committee member Walter Rugland said.
He said the information collected in both the online survey and listening sessions will shape the way the community’s leaders think and work for generations to come.
“It will be something that can be used by both the business community as well as the elected officials,” he said, noting that the Fox Cities region encompasses 19 municipalities, not to mention three county governments and many local school boards.
“We hope to have representation from all of those neighborhoods and all of the economic and ethnic and interest groups,” he said. ”We know that the future will be determined by the people, not by the elite. The elite will not create a community that people are going to be happy with. This is important to make sure that we’ve got full representation of the entire community.”
“(People of color) represent a larger percentage of our population than ever before,” Weller said. “If our community really is going to be reflective, and our decisions, and ideas, and concerns, and discussion topics are only from a small percentage of our population, it’s not representative of a whole. They’re just a vital part of our community. And we want everybody to be involved.”
Weller said Imagine Fox Cities is holding more than 70 listening sessions, most of them hosted by specific targeted groups, but there are several opportunities in the coming weeks for any members of the community who wish to weigh in.
The sessions will be facilitated discussions with some open-ended questions to help residents voice their concerns and ideas for the Fox Cities’ future.
“As you look forward, you always want to understand what’s important to you and what made the Fox Cities so valuable to many, many people who call it home,” Weller said. “And likewise we also want to know what areas that we need to improve on as we go forward.”
Community members have until the end of June to take the online survey, which takes less than five minutes. The first Community Conversation took place Tuesday at Feeding America in Appleton. Upcoming sessions are scheduled:
- June 6, 11 a.m., Appleton Public Library, 225 N. Oneida Street, Appleton
- June 6, 1 p.m., Childcare Resource and Referral Center, 1001 W. Kennedy Avenue, Kimberly
- June 6, 6 p.m., Appleton Public Library, 225 N. Oneida Street, Appleton (Spanish and English speaking conversations)
- June 8, 10:30 a.m., Neenah Public Library, 240 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Neenah
- June 13, 6 p.m., Little Chute Community Village Board Room 108 W. Main Street, Little Chute
The committee plans to gather the data by mid-July and spend the rest of the summer analyzing and discerning, and then host a summit to make the data public and plan next steps in the fall.
More information and all surveys are available at the Imagine Fox Cities websit