Residents Shaping the Future of Phoenix
In late August, Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix City Council members and community leaders launched MyPlanPhx, an online initiative that allows Phoenix residents to provide input about the city’s growth during the next 10 years.
With two specific projects needing input – updating the city’s general plan and community planning along the light rail line – the South Mountain and Laveen Villages figure to generate attention. After all, the area has seen considerable change since the last general plan update in 2002, and light rail extension along South Central Avenue remains a possibility.
According to Joshua Bednarek, general plan update project manager, early interest has centered around the canals and a downtown theme park. And while many initial ideas haven’t been geographically focused, that’s doesn’t mean they won’t affect future plans in the South Mountain area.
“What PlanPhx is all about is (having) a larger conversation with the community about their hopes and dreams for the city of Phoenix,” he said.
At present, Bednarek says the website – at www.myplanphx.com – is like an online “town hall” where people can share ideas. Current questions proposed to residents include “What is your ‘Big Idea’ for the future of Phoenix?” and “What’s your favorite vacant building near light rail?”
New questions will get added soon to keep the content fresh. The hope is, as engagement increases, residents’ ideas can be used to draft a blueprint for future development.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much people have been on the site. We’re almost to 500 users,” said Bednarek, adding that most registered users live in Central Phoenix.
Residents can participate online at www.myplanphx.com by either using a Facebook account or registering with a name, contact information, birth date and zip code. A point system rewards active participants, who can select prizes ranging from pieces of light rail track to lunch with council members.
Planning for the city’s new general plan and neighborhoods along light rail is set to wrap up by the end of 2014. MyPlanPhx will remain online until at least that time.
“I wouldn’t be surprised – because it has been so successful – if the city brings on something similar on a regular basis for everything from neighborhood outreach on speed humps to other city questions,” Bednarek added.
Forums are underway throughout the city for residents to brainstorm ideas and receive feedback from peers and council members. The next forum with Councilman Michael Nowakowski and Stanton is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 30, but the location hasn’t been determined yet. Another one is planned for Thursday, Nov. 1, with Vice Mayor Michael Johnson and Stanton at 6 p.m. at South Mountain Community Library.