Engagement Done Differently

Learn how city government is changing interactions with the community

Meet Sabrina Colón, Sr. Communications Specialist for the city of Charlotte, who leads communications for Community Investment Plan, the long-range capital investment program designed to meet the current and future needs of our growing community.

Sabrina Colón, Sr. Communications Specialist, Community Investment Plan

Sabrina walks us through how city government is working to change the way we engage with residents on important infrastructure projects in their community. From pop-ups to tactical events to online meetings, staff is working to reach a broader audience and have fun doing it. These CIP efforts are just the beginning.

“ In order to improve the quality of life for Charlotte residents we have to invest in both infrastructure and people. Project managers working in our communities know that it’s never just a sidewalk, it’s the families that will use that sidewalk each day.” — Sabrina Colón

Firestone Park Cleanup

On Saturday, June 3, city and county staff worked alongside Charlotte residents to cleanup Firestone Community Park. The effort, which took place in the Sunset/Beatties Ford Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program (CNIP) area, gave the underutilized park a fresh start just in time for summer.

Following the cleanup, the city hosted a fair for the neighborhood including food, face painting, bounce houses and more. During this time, staff also spoke with residents about the plans for the Oakdale-Nevin pedestrian and bicycle path, which could provide pedestrian and bike facilities to safely connect the seven parks and green spaces (five existing and two planned) between the Oakdale and Nevin communities.

Staff will continue to work with the surrounding neighborhoods to understand how they want to use the space and what future investments in the area will have the greatest impact in their community.

For more photos, visit our photo gallery on Facebook.

Central/Kilborne/Norland pedestrian improvements drop-in public meeting

The Central/Albemarle/Shamrock CNIP team held a kickoff event for the Central/Norland/Kilborne Street upgrade project on June 1st. Paired with an improvement project along Kilborne and opportunities for greenspace at the intersection, these projects will improve the street for bicyclists and pedestrians all the way from Eastway Drive to Dresden Drive.

The public meeting was drop-in style and focused on getting the participants to share where and how they travel in the area, as well as the types of facilities they prefer to use. Staff created a “pop-up park” to engage residents on how the community might use the greenspace. The pop-up park was divided into three “outdoor rooms”, intended to get people thinking about the types of activities, both passive and active, that could occur. One “room” on the site was set up with café tables. In another, chairs were arranged in an amphitheater setup, along with games and children’s activities, such as sidewalk chalk, hula hoops and Jenga.

In an area set up for more passive uses, people could weigh in on how they would like to see public art incorporated into any potential project and could talk with an artist.

Historical questions about the area hung from trees above the café seating to help people think about how history might be included on the site and temporary signs on trees showed how it might be possible to include an urban arboretum or public gardens. The city arborist was on hand to talk to the community about the importance of trees in greenspaces. Participants strolled through the park and visited a series of boards to share their thoughts about future uses.

The event was busy throughout the afternoon, as neighbors, employees and owners of nearby businesses, and their children enjoyed the area. Many settled in for the duration of the event! This event showcased the vitality of the Central Avenue area, as well as opening peoples’ eyes to and getting them talking about the possibility of reinvigorating this green corner to become a shared community asset.

For more photos, visit our photo gallery on Facebook.

Monroe Road Vision Workshop

The Monroe Road Area Vision Workshop was designed to hear from the community; to get an in depth perspective of the community assets, issues or constraints and identify opportunities for improvement related to pedestrian and vehicle mobility/connectivity, safety and aesthetics in the area and encourage economic development.

As attendees arrived, they were provided a comment sheet with a number on it. The number represented the table to distribute neighborhoods among the tables. Large-scale maps of the various projects and design examples lined the room for community members to review before the facilitated session started.

Facilitators led small discussion groups, encouraging participants to place color stickers on a map and write ideas for the study area. The colored stickers represented a specific asset, issue, future opportunity and quick fix issues that currently exist (street lights out, sidewalk conditions, overgrown vegetation, etc.). After an hour of group discussions, ideas and input, a representative from each table provided a report back to the full group.

Approximately 90 residents attended, plus some children who enjoyed the play space we created, representing at least six neighborhoods for three hours on a Saturday to build relationships, hear each other and be heard. It was a positive and successful workshop.

The next step is to compile the group’s ideas to inform the development of a set of conceptual solutions for the project area, which will be included in a Summary Report and posted on the project web page.

These projects are all part of the city’s Community Investment Plan. To learn more about how we are investing in your area visit CharlotteFuture.com.