Best Practices


Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz

Partnerships for Tomorrow

The Partnerships for Tomorrow project provides a forward-looking collaborative impetus to the community's future. With declining funding and increasing costs of delivering services, the model we have developed will allow us to share our resources and work together with community organizations and citizens to provide the services the community needs.

Defining a shared community vision is the essential first step in developing a relevant long-range community plan. A professional random-sample telephone survey of 400 Burnsville residents was conducted early in the process. These residents gave their views on 214 questions, covering virtually every aspect of their lives in Burnsville.

Next, 67 volunteers from throughout the community were trained to facilitate focus group meetings. The purpose of these meetings, in combination with the survey information, was to determine a clear community vision of the future. There were 137 focus groups conducted with nearly 700 participants. Focus groups took place in neighborhoods, schools, senior citizen residences, businesses, and community service locations.

Finally, community members who may have been missed by the survey and the focus groups were invited to attend one of two televised Community Forums. These people were also asked to share their views on the community and its future.

Organizing all the survey and focus group data into a relevant document was the next challenge. All participants in the Visioning stage were invited to a Town Meeting for the purpose of determining the most important planning areas for the community. Out of this meeting it was agreed that planning should concentrate on six major themes: Safety, Youth, Neighborhoods, Development, Environment, and Transportation. Then, 84 citizens volunteered to serve on committees to translate the community vision for these six themes into the specific action plans contained in our final report.

Each community partnering organization has developed an implementation plan for parts of the report. Several organizations will work jointly to achieve applicable parts of the plan.

Involvement of the entire community will continue to be an important part of PFT. Community organizations and businesses will continue to volunteer to sponsor achievement of specific action plans. Similarly, citizens volunteering their time and energy toward achieving this community vision will be another major key to success. Finally, the ongoing commitment of the partner organizations to facilitate this vision into a reality will be essential to the success of the community vision.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (612) 673-2100

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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