The Flint Hills Frontiers project has “hit the road” with roadshow presentations being conducted throughout the 19 county region. The Frontiers team is traveling to each of the County Commissions and many of the region’s larger City Commissions to give the region’s elected officials an update of the progress made towards the Community Toolbox and offer them each, the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the vision and goals of the project.
A second roadshow has been initiated on behalf of the Flint Hills Economic Development District (FHEDD) formation. The roadshow is offering the seven county area of Chase, Geary, Lyon, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley and Wabaunsee, a chance to review the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) developed over the past year and meet with local leaders on the action plan developed in the report. The CEDS was unveiled this past month during the Citizen Strategy Committee’s meeting, in Junction City and introduced to the area’s elected officials at the Flint Hills Regional Council’s November meeting, in Pottawatomie County. The Citizen Strategy Committee and FHRC gave their first impressions of the report and gave feedback on the roadshow presentation. We thank the members of the Citizen Strategy Committee for their hard work over the past year on this effort and all those who helped in forming this document and continue to make this a better document.
A draft of the Draft CEDS can be found at the Frontiers website, www.flinthillsfrontiers.org, by following the link to the FHEDD Draft CEDS. We would encourage your input and welcome your feedback prior to December 20th. A second Draft will be released in January for public review and meetings will be held throughout the region to garner public support. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us if you would like to schedule a roadshow presentation before your community group or interested organization.
The Flint Hills Work Group and the Frontiers team are working towards a combined Flint Hills Summit in February. If you have been lucky enough to attend one of the three previous Flint Hills Symposium’s, you have had the opportunity to hear the latest happenings from the many fronts of this great region, from economic development and tourism, to ranching and natural resources. By building on these discussions, with the findings and vision of the Frontiers project, this year’s Summit offers a rare opportunity to gather local leaders, regional and state stakeholders, and develop the tools necessary to chart a successful future for the people of the Flint Hills.
The Frontiers timeline, below, identifies two cornerstone events prior to the Spring Community Toolbox Meetings: the Leader’s Retreat, being held in Overland Park, Jan. 17 & 18th, and the Governor’s Flint Hills Summit: The Flint Hills Frontiers Community Toolbox Sessions are being scheduled for this spring. These sessions will bring the Frontiers project back to communities across the region. We look forward to your participation. If you have any questions or comments regarding the upcoming Sessions, or any other parts of the Frontiers project, please contact us: email@example.com.
The Flint Hills Economic Development District's (FHEDD) Draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) has been released for review. This working draft has been in production for the past year, under the guidance of a Citizen Strategy Committee gathered from the seven county region. The FHEDD formation will be complete and the district established, after public review of the CEDS and the signing of the document by local officials, the governor and the Economic Development Administration. The seven county area of Chase, Geary, Lyon, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley and Wabaunsee currently fall outside the surrounding Economic Development Districts, thus limiting this region to certain EDA funding opportunities.
The Draft CEDS highlights the past year's work by the Citizen Strategy Committee to identify goals and a vision for the economic future of the region. The CEDS also, identifies Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to the region and for the first time, brings together Action Items, with measurable outcomes for the Flint Hills region. This document forms a basis for a regional vision of economic prosperity, blending our traditional economic engines, with emerging and promising sectors of innovation.
Please take this opportunity to review this important step into our economic future. We welcome your feedback and look forward to your involvement at one of our upcoming public meetings.
The Frontiers Project continues to seek your input for the future of the Flint Hills. This past month, the Frontiers planning team invited partners to the table to discuss the Community Toolbox Meetings, the Strategic Communication Plan and the timeline for completing the project over a series of Planning Partners Meetings. These Planning Partners Meetings gave the team a chance to review the crucial plans and materials that will lead to both a series of successful community meetings and the development of a Community Toolbox. The meetings also gave incoming Flint Hills Regional Council Executive Director Bill Clark and Community Development Manager, Shelley Carver, a chance to meet the current partners and develop relationships that will forge new opportunities over the coming years.
This month, as mentioned above, the Frontiers project also welcomes aboard Shelley Carver, most recently with the City of Manhattan, as our new Community Development Officer. Shelley has a rich history of community engagement and development work. She began planning with the Washington State Department of Transportation, working in community development and outreach, and lately with the City of Manhattan, as grants writer and administrator. These skills will serve her well with the Frontiers Project, bridging, from plan completion to implementation, where grant administration services will form a backbone to many of the tools being developed in the Frontiers Community Toolbox. By developing these relationships she will lead the Frontiers Strategic Communication Plan and help develop those critical partnerships that will lead this project into implementation and sustainability.
With two new hires, an Executive Director and Community Development Officer, and also a new place to call home, a new office, 885 Marshall Loop, Fort Riley, KS 66442, the Flint Hills Regional Council (FHRC), has experienced a very fluid past few months. As lead for the Frontiers project, the FHRC is happy to have these new dedicated professionals and new office facilities ready to forward the goals and vision of the Frontiers project. ! On the Frontiers front, the Flint Hills Economic Development District (FHEDD) formation, part of the Frontiers Opportunity Issue Area working group has drafted a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the seven-county central Flint Hills region, this working draft can be found on the Frontiers website, www.flinthillsfrontiers.org, by following the link to the FHEDD Draft CEDS.
The Flint Hills Frontiers Community Toolbox Sessions are being scheduled for this spring. These sessions will bring the Frontiers project back to communities across the region. We look forward to your participation. If you have any questions or comments regarding the upcoming Sessions, or any other parts of the Frontiers project, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
September welcomed aboard a new Executive Director for the Flint Hills Regional Council and Project Director for the Frontiers Regional Planning Project, Bill Clark. Bill was first introduced to the Flint Hills when he served the US Army at Fort Riley in the mid-1990s, returning recently to serve as the Garrison Commander of Fort Riley from July 2011 to July 2013. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland and a Masters Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. He and his wife have four children and six grandchildren and reside in Abilene. He has brought his many years of leadership skills to the FHRC and Frontiers project and will lead the project from Vision to final plan, our Community Toolbox.
Working Group meetings on various Issue Areas continued to meet and craft tools and solutions for their Issue Area. This input will be vital in developing the final Community Toolbox and detailed tools for implementation, which local entities can shape to their needs. The various tools can be found at the Flint Hills Frontiers website and the Flint Hills Forum (forum.flinthillsfrontiers.org). The Forum allows you to go on-line and discuss with friends and neighbors from all over the nineteen county region, on topics that are important to you. If you see an idea or interest, a concern or issue that isn’t being addressed, just log-in and have your say. The Flint Hills Forum is a crowdsourcing technology, provided by MindMixer, an idea generating and sharing service, being used in over 400 communities across America. The service allows you to discuss topics ranging from transportation to health care, and gives communities an open, transparent avenue for gaining public input, support and engagement. The Frontiers project invites you to get engaged and visit our Forum if you haven’t already done so, and if you have, but haven’t been back recently, click-over and find out what’s new.
The Flint Hills Economic Development District continues to work on the partnerships and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that will lead to an Economic Development Administration approved district for 2014. The FHRC staff met with Chase County Commissioners to discuss the FHEDD and participated in a joint meeting with the Lyon County Commission and the City of Emporia, with representatives from our state legislature, Emporia Main Street and the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas. The FHEDD formation continues to bring together entities and organizations dedicated to bringing a coordinated economic plan for the region. Extending the reach from Geary, Riley and Pottawatomie, Morris, Wabaunsee, to Chase and Lyon, gives the FHEDD an incredible array of economic tools and talent to drive many of the Frontiers goals towards implementation.
Kate Nesse, associate professor of Regional & Community Planning at Kansas State University is at work on drafting the CEDS for public review. The work completed by the Citizen Strategy Committee over the last year and by the recently completed Working Groups, will inform the CEDS. From the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to the vision and goals of the region and each of the working areas, the CEDS will be a document that leads the region towards a brighter economic future.
The Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization (FHMPO), the recently formed transportation planning organization for the central Flint Hills region, surrounding the Manhattan metropolitan area, including parts of Geary, Pottawatomie and Riley Counties, Ogden, Fort Riley, Grandview Plaza and Junction City, continues to develop the Unified Planning Work Program for 2014. The public commenting period of the draft UPWP is available on the FHRC website (flinthillsregion.org) and the FHMPO is soliciting comments on the ways you find best to be informed of transportation planning activities. Just visit the FHRC website, following the link to the FHMPO website (flinthillsregion.org/fhmpo) and take the on-line Public Participation Survey. Any questions, comments or suggestions regarding the FHMPO should be addressed to email@example.com.
The Flint Hills Frontiers Community Toolbox Sessions are being scheduled for the first of next year. These sessions will bring the Frontiers project back to communities across the region. We look forward to your participation. If you have any questions or comments regarding the upcoming Sessions, or any other parts of the Frontiers project, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't miss out! The final working group meeting for the FHEDD is happening on Tues. August 13th and Wed. August 14th. Be there to get your final input on upcoming projects for the FHEDD.