On October 25th, close to 500 people attended the Community Summit to share their ideas for the future of Montgomery. After a rousing kickoff performance from members of the Alabama State University Band, The Mighty, Marching Hornets, participants quickly got to work in a packed two-hour agenda. The meeting began with a welcome from Robert Smith, Planning Director with the City of Montgomery, followed by Keneth Water from Alabama State University and Mayor Todd Strange. Each speaker thanked the crowd for attending and stressed the importance of the evening. Jamie Greene, Principal with planning NEXT, then introducing the agenda and provided background on the process.
Following introductions and this brief presentation from the Planning Team, table groups got to work. “So, you think you know Montgomery?” engaged groups in a trivia competition where teams were asked to questions on key facts related to Montgomery. After 30 seconds of deliberation, each team raised their answers and recorded their score.
During the Themes and Direction activity, participants worked individually to evaluate the emerging themes and indicate those most important to them. These themes included topics related to growth and development, mobility, education, and others and were derived through the dozens of Listening & Learning conversations facilitated through the initial phases of the process. Along with their feedback on the themes, participants were also asked to share one or two words that best capture the Montgomery they would like to see in the future.
Natilee McGruder, Development director for EAT South, then shared an inspirational message from the stage. Her speech focused on the future of Montgomery and why this process was important to her and to all young people in the community. She encouraged participants to think “BIG” as they share ideas and be restricted by current conditions.
Following this inspirational transition, tables began a 45-minute discussion centered on three prompts:
- What do we need to do to make Montgomery an even better community in the future?
- How will we know when we’ve succeeded?
- What are the challenges or obstacles to realizing our vision or maximizing our opportunities?
Table leaders collected thoughts from each participant, capturing thousands of ideas in the process. These were recorded for the Planning Team on a group recorder form. The Planning Team will database all comments and analyze the content through an event report. The initial raw data will be made available to the public by mid-November and a finalized report will be published soon after.
If you were unable to attend the Community Summit, the Steering Committee would like to encourage you to share via the process website through the following link: www.envisionmontgomery2040.org/communitysummit.