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City Council approves plan and timeline to improve Minneapolis’ community engagement efforts

May 11, 2007 (MINNEAPOLIS) The Minneapolis City Council today approved a plan and timeframe for assessing and improving the City’s community engagement systems. Minneapolis’ elected leaders are working to ensure that the City’s community engagement efforts effectively involve the people of Minneapolis in government issues and decision-making, recognizing that involvement from a diverse pool of people helps build a better city and create vibrant, safe, welcoming and livable neighborhoods.

"The City of Minneapolis is stronger and works better when residents are empowered and engaged with their government," Mayor Rybak said. "Today’s vote is the first of many steps we are taking that will set us up to better engage residents and build stronger neighborhoods."

Minneapolis faces several issues that have spurred a thorough review of the City’s overall community engagement system. That system includes the City’s relationships with existing community, business, and neighborhood organizations, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). Among the issues we face are changes in population demographics, tight financial constraints, and the approaching sunset of legislation that created the NRP.

"Our goal is to ensure that the Citys community engagement efforts are strong and effective and that they include the full range of diversity of the people of Minneapolis," said City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren, who represents the Citys 6th Ward. "This plan lays out a clear path for how we can reach that goal, and effectively involve Minneapolis residents, businesses, neighborhoods and community organizations in the discussion and decision-making process."

The plan approved by the City Council outlines a three-track approach with opportunities for community input and updates throughout this discussion. The Council also directed staff to begin implementing several recommendations from the November 2006 Community Engagement Report related to improving the City’s internal community engagement systems

The Mayor and City Council have adopted a set of citywide goals and ex pectations that articulate the City’s commitment to community engagement. At its essence, community engagement in Minneapolis is about empowering people to influence decisions that shape their city and their lives.

In the past two years, following a thorough study of best practices, Minneapolis has begun to formalize its community engagement activities. The City currently has a community engagement coordinator on staff who helps departments build effective engagement strategies into their planning efforts, and trains City staff so they have the tools and skills to meaningfully engage stakeholders in specific projects and plans.

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Communications Department
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Minneapolis, MN 55415

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Published May 11, 2007