“Big Ideas” – Marshalltown, IA

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Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Community vision and values
  • Engagement Approaches Community conversations/dialogues, Surveys and data, Visioning/ strategic planning
Project Description

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“Imagine the community you want to live in, work in, raise your family in, and where you want to play together.” This the was the guiding prompt to the community of Marshalltown during the planning process, Imagine. Marshalltown had been facing an identity crisis and needed a vision to move forward. This project brought a community of 26,000 together to discuss the future of the place they call home. It encouraged residents to share their ideas and resulted in more than 1,000 people providing over 3,000 ideas for the vision of their community. Input was gathered through community forums in English and Spanish, surveys to organizations and businesses, presentations at community event.

A selection committee was assembled through a blind application process, which helped bring in new voices. Ideas were organized and posed online by the selection committee for further community feedback. These suggestions were narrowed down to create the 7 Big Ideas by the selection committee. The 7 Big Ideas included:

  1. Develop Linn Creek River Walk
  2. Target on beautification
  3. Develop Riverview Park and beautify north entrance
  4. Revitalize and strengthen downtown
  5. Build clear creek lake
  6. Strengthen the public-school system, and
  7. Create a pedestrian and bicycling friendly community.

Then, to add some urgency to the project, have the expectation set to have those 7 Big Ideas on a schedule to be up and going in four years. Just as there were a lot of individuals involved in the idea process, there have been many people who have been involved in accomplishing the Big Ideas. While each Big Idea has not been achieved in full, the self-image of the community has improved. There is an attitude that Marshalltown can and will accomplish a lot more in the coming years. People are continuing to imagine what Marshalltown can become in the coming years.

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