IK at Work

Over 16 months of almost 4,000 diverse community voices have joined together to explore opportunities, break down barriers, and chart new directions for themselves, their families, neighborhoods and the City over the coming decade. At open houses, community picnics, art hops, and through online surveys, people from every neighborhood contributed ideas about places, programs, policies, investments, and communal goals that were most important to them.  This process created visions, plans, and goals to guide the City.  Each phase of IK2025 included opportunities for community members to define and identify the challenges and opportunities to achieving the vision.

Imagine Kalamazoo Strategic Goals & Directions

Strategic Goals are the City’s guide to help shape the future direction of the City, and provide a framework from which all other City plans are created. Specifically, these Goals provide direction to anyone working in the City on projects or policies. Further, the Goals help shape the work of City staff as they seek to collaborate and streamlined internal operations, and represent and respond to community’s needs. Because all of the Strategic Goals were created through the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 initiative, these Goals will be incorporated fully into the Priority Based Budgeting Process. The Goals are:

GOAL: Shared Prosperity - Abundant opportunities for all people to prosper.

Implementing Plans: Master Plan; Shared Prosperity; Consolidated Plan; and Parks & Recreation.

Youth. Family. Jobs. Shared Prosperity ensures that youth (ages 0-25) and their families of all cultures, ethnicities, abilities, and economic backgrounds have the support and opportunities to thrive.

Achieving this goal requires focus and collaboration among a spectrum of partners including educational institutions, businesses, public agencies, and community non-profits to reduce income inequities and identify and address policies that create inequity. Shared Prosperity involves a strong focus on family support, wealth building, and coordinating wraparound services.

Metrics:

A. Income gap between persons of color and overall population
B. Housing affordability, especially for cost burdened renter households
C. Underemployment, employment, and unemployment rates
D. Poverty rate

GOAL: Connected City - A City networked for walking, biking, riding, and driving.

Implementing Plans: Master Plan; Shared Prosperity; HUD Consolidated Plan; Parks & Recreation; Climate Action; Asset Management, and Transportation Improvement Plan.

The Connected City provides a framework to improve human and environmental health by creating safe and complete neighborhood centers, encouraging active transportation, and providing better access to services and destinations across the City. This Goal embodies the concept of connecting neighborhoods with land use, community economic development, housing, infrastructure, and transit. A Connected City is one that promotes well defined outdoor spaces that can easily accommodate people and are well-incorporated with connecting buildings and spaces. 

Metrics:

A. Reduction or increase of bicycle and pedestrian trips
B. Reduction or increase of vehicle miles traveled
C. Addition of new sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and other non-motorized infrastructure
D. Trips made with public transit
E. Satisfaction surveys of transportation users

GOAL: Inviting Public Places - Vibrant streets, exceptional parks, and welcoming activities.

Implementing Plans: Master Plan; HUD Consolidated Plan; Parks & Recreation; Climate Action; and Asset Management.

Inviting Public Places encourage the integration of nature into neighborhoods throughout the City. With place-making that speaks to each neighborhood, public places are planned with inclusive activities that invite the community to come together along streets, in parks and plazas, and within neighborhood centers. Public spaces must be designed to:  consider the nearby physical environment and the needs of the community; and link green ways and blue ways throughout the City to create an accessible network that foster welcoming activities and opportunities for the community to access nature.

Inviting Public Places encourage innovative street design that expands the role of streets as public spaces so that they can also be flexibly used for multiple activities such as markets, festivals, or street parks.

Metrics

A. Percentage of green space by population size (to predict where new parks are needed)
B. Investment in Parks and Recreation per capita
C. Trees planted along streets

GOAL: Environmental Responsibility - A green and healthy City.

Implementing Plans: Master Plan; HUD Consolidated Plan; Parks & Recreation; Climate Action; Asset Management; and Transportation Improvement Plan.

Environmental Responsibility ensures that investments and planning reflect thoughtful urban design that can both preserve and enhance the City by conserving energy, water, and natural resources now and for future generations. This includes creating well-defined walkable neighborhoods that have access to nature, active parks, streets, and public spaces. Other key components include: protecting our sources of drinking water, lakes, and streams; protecting land for local food production; creating adaptation strategies; protecting and expanding the tree canopy throughout the City; and actively encouraging sustainable community redevelopment. This work involves remediation of lead lines, rehabilitating homes, implementing weatherization and green building practices. All of these actions together can help preserve and enhance neighborhood housing stock, encourage efficient use of land, and enable a culture of conservation. 

Metrics:

A. Tons of waste disposed per resident per year by type
B. Tons of restaurant and grocery store potential waste captured for use in food assistance or for compost
C. Tons of recycling per resident/business – percentage waste recycled or composted
D. Percentage of land preserved for floodway or natural habitat
E. Number of community gardens
F. Greenhouse gas emissions increase and reduction city-wide; tracked with ICLEI
G. Renewable energy used by Cityfacilities

GOAL: Safe Community – Creating a safe environment for living, working, and playing

Implementing Plans: Master Plan, Shared Prosperity, HUD Consolidated Plan, Parks & Recreation, Climate Action, Asset Management, Transportation Improvement Plan

The city will continue to invest in new and existing facilities that contribute to public health and safety. It provides a utility system that responds to increasing growth, changing technology, and additional demands on limited facilities. The city addresses blight and resident safety and needs through strategic planning and partnerships. Educational opportunities are available that teach home repair and contribute to financial stability for home owners and renters. Neighborhood coalitions are supported to foster organization and communication with residents for inclusive and shared decision making. The city invests in safety for the most vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users.

Metrics

A. Crime rates by type and location
B. Resident and visitor perception of safety
C. Blight cases, code enforcement cases
D. Rehabilitated and demolished homes
E. Lead service lines replaced by year

GOAL: Youth Development - A city with places and supports where young people thrive

Implementing Plans: Shared Prosperity; HUD Consolidated Plan; and Parks & Recreation.

 The City invests in our community’s youth, building their future with resources and services to provide learning experiences and emotional support to grow and thrive. Parents are supported to create stability and growth for their children with structured opportunities for involvement and education. Opportunities are provided for youth leadership and skills development. Partnerships are established to achieve equitable access to education with diverse types of skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration – skills directly linked to success in school, career, and life. With the amazing opportunity afforded by the Kalamazoo Promise, the City aims to work strategically with families and community partners to help every youth realize their full potential.

Metrics

A. High School graduation rates by race, ethnicity, income level, and neighborhood area
B. Youth employment rates.
C. Pre- and post-program participant evaluation.
D. Health indicators such as childhood obesity, chronic illness, and infant mortality.
E. Promise utilization-rate/successful degrees.

GOAL: Complete Neighborhoods – Residential areas that support the full range of people’s daily needs

Implementing Plans: Master Plan; Shared Prosperity; HUD Consolidated Plan; Parks & Recreation; Climate Action; Asset Management; and Transportation Improvement Plan.

Establishing Complete Neighborhoods as a goal expresses the necessity that land development and transportation planning merge to create healthy, safe, and convenient access to daily needs. This means investments in compact development within neighborhood centers will support businesses and public transit, and investments in parks and recreation amenities create access to

quality outdoor activities, socialization, and open space for all residents. Further, completing and repairing bike and sidewalk networks with crosswalks will enable safe walking and connectivity to destinations throughout neighborhoods. The implementation of Complete Neighborhoods through thoughtful built-environment strategies will address inequities through promoting better housing choice, local food production, and access to health care and other supportive services.

Metrics:

A. Tracking residents engaged through continuous community outreach – neighborhood meetings, online engagement, and shared decision making.
B. Measurements for neighborhood completeness (within each geographic area).
C. Percentage of parks and activities represented.
D. Housing affordability (and variety).
E. Access to fresh food (miles, type – farm market, grocery etc.).
F. Employment opportunities (number, sector).
G. Community “hubs” or centers available for gathering and engagement.
H. Street projects and related improvements.

GOAL: Strength Through Diversity – An inclusive city where everyone feels at home

Implementation Plans: Master Plan; Shared Prosperity; HUD Consolidated Plan; and Parks & Recreation.

The City of Kalamazoo recognizes that barriers exist and have existed for many years that have not equally represented the dignity and value of all people. The City is working to create an equitable environment for all people regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status, income, or socio-economic status. By consulting with community members, the City strives to eliminate discrimination and disadvantage and promote relationships that are based on understanding and respect for all people.  Further, the City is committed to providing exceptional and cost-effective services, facilities, and public spaces and making sure everyone who lives and works in the City of Kalamazoo has the opportunity to participate in the future of the City. 

Metrics:

A. Track residents engaged through continuous community outreach – neighborhood meetings, online engagement, and shared decision making.
B. Focus on demographics to define if more outreach is needed.
C. Evaluate City events for demographics and inclusive practices.
D. Evaluate customer service for inclusive practices.

GOAL: Economic Vitality – A supportive infrastructure for growing businesses and stabilizing the local economy to the benefit of all

Implementation Plans: Master Plan; Shared Prosperity; HUD Consolidated Plan, Parks & Recreation; Climate Action; Asset Management; and Transportation Improvement Plan.

This strategic direction is to grow Kalamazoo into a vibrant, diverse, and increasingly regional destination while supporting the local economy to benefit individuals across all income levels. Economic Vitality requires investment in mixed-use walkable urban centers, and unique neighborhood-based businesses. This means enhancing the City’s downtown core as the economic center of the City and the region, planning for vibrant economic corridors by exploring new ways to deploy investments in areas targeted for transformation and growth, and reinforcing local neighborhood and cultural identity by preserving small, locally-owned businesses that are at risk of displacement due to increasing costs or development pressures.  Further, for a diverse, equitable, and robust City economy development and expansion of resident-owned businesses and local minority-owned businesses is critical.

Metrics:

A. New businesses created - By sector and location
B. Jobs created, including re-entry of residents into the workforce, and local hiring/recruitment from universities, colleges, and high schools located in the City.
C. Increase in local procurement by anchor institutions (food, goods, services)
D. Downtown retail sales and activity and percentage of capture of $500 million spent outside Kalamazoo/ Portage each year according to Downtown Retail Study
E. Gentrification Vulnerability Analysis of neighborhoods to mitigate involuntary displacement(projects/neighborhoods )

GOAL: Good Governance – Ensuring the City organization has the capacity and resources to effectively implement the community’s Strategic Vision in a way that is sustainable over the long term

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Implementation Plans: Master Plan; Shared Prosperity; HUD Consolidated Plan; Parks & Recreation; Climate Action; Asset Management; Transportation Improvement Plan. 

The City will align the Strategic Vision and the associated implementation plans with the annual City budget via Priority Based Budgeting to achieve the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 goals. Open Data will be used to provide public transparency and support the decision-making processes by providing the public, City staff, and elected official with metrics so that City improvements and investments can have maximum positive impacts that are closely aligned with the Strategic Goals.

Metrics:

A. Annual report of hiring and retention.
B. Annual report of projects, policies, and goals reached.
C. Annual Budget (Priority Based Budgeting).
D. Customer service surveys.

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