Engaged Citizens and City Managers – Keys to Success in Local Government

At Life, Well Run we strive to showcase and celebrate the incredible work happening in local governments every day, all around the country under the direction of professional local government managers. One of the ways we do this is through highlighting Success Stories that not only share the details of a great initiative, but also…

Jul 20, 2017 | BLOG POST

At Life, Well Run we strive to showcase and celebrate the incredible work happening in local governments every day, all around the country under the direction of professional local government managers. One of the ways we do this is through highlighting Success Stories that not only share the details of a great initiative, but also of the men and women behind the scenes that make this work possible. While each story is unique in the challenges addressed, or strategies used, it’s the common themes that sometimes say the most.

Recently we had the opportunity to feature a fantastic multi-pronged citizen engagement effort from the City of Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As a small community (population 16,000) straddling two large counties, Goodlettsville saw the value in creating a strong sense of place and identity. Over the course of one-year City Manager Tim Ellis, in partnership with a team of city staff, developed four distinct programs to engage their community, establish open communication channels, and create an overarching community brand. 

In Decatur, Georgia we see the impact of citizen engagement to transform an economically struggling city into a national model for active living and sustainability. When faced with an uncertain future, city leaders turned to their citizens and together developed three master plans that provided guidance and continue to generate success. Citizens expressed their desire for a more walkable community; and city leaders understood the value of a downtown that was accessible and could be enjoyed by all. By seeking and responding to public feedback through strategic investments in pedestrian infrastructure the city ushered in a new era of economic growth while simultaneously improving public health.

Further west in Longmont, Colorado city leaders have taken community engagement to a new level – hosting “Bike and Learn” events for citizens to join city engineers and leaders along a seven-mile loop to learn of plans to revitalize areas affected by major flooding. Combined with monthly “coffee with the council” and the city manager, citizens were engaged throughout the restoration project. As a result citizens approved $20 million in bonds for the flood restoration and renewed a street tax for 10 years until 2026.

These are just a sampling of the stories you’ll find on our interactive Success Stories map with common themes of a committed city manager and creative citizen engagement at the forefront. We know there are countless examples of these themes throughout each community and are eager to hear yours! If you have a success story you’d like to share please email us at lifewellrun@icma.org

 


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