The city of Phoenix is ready to listen.
By law, the city must create a new or updated general plan to help guide the city. The last one was created in 2002. In order to make the new general plan meaningful not just for city employees but for the entire city, the mayor, City Council and community members have launched planPHX. They’re asking residents what they love about Phoenix and what they want to see happen in Phoenix in the future.
MyplanPHX.com is an interactive website and online town hall where residents can submit ideas for the general plan. People can vote on each other’s ideas and the more votes an idea gets the more points the user earns. Those points can be turned in to win a variety of prizes listed on the site. Planners of the site hope the reward points will encourage those who wouldn’t normally speak up to submit ideas and participate.
The site also has a feature that allows residents to change the language on the website with the click of a button so all the diverse communities can participate.
The mayor and City Council will host traditional town hall meetings in each district to get input for the general plan but they also plan on showing up at grocery stores, ball games, local coffee shops and even in food trucks, to ask each resident what they want to see Phoenix become. A leadership committee of 17 people chosen by the city will ultimately combine those ideas.
Mo Stein, chairman of the committee, said he hopes the general plan does not just turn into a notebook that no one reads.
“We know what we have to do but I don’t really know exactly what it’s going to be,” Stein said. “That’s what’s exciting about it. One thing I can tell you is it’s not going to be another big notebook that’s going to sit on my shelf for 10 years… We’ll be successful if we can go into Safeway, or church, or a ballgame, and people say, ‘I know what the plan says. There’s something in it that I believe in.’”
The project is being done in conjunction with a $2.4 million grant the city received to improve neighborhoods along the light rail line. The city expects to put about $10,000 a year into planPHX.
“Doing community outreach right isn’t necessarily an expensive thing but it is arguably the most important thing,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.
Stanton said he expects a lot of emphasis on economic development and sustainability in this plan versus the land use and zoning emphasis there was in the 2002 plan.
The city plans to gather information from residents over the next year and compile it all for public vote by 2015.
For more information, visit myplanPHX.com. The city is also accepting ideas through Facebook at facebook.com/planPHX and Twitter @PlanPHX. The city will host a community forum at Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th St., on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m.
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