Results of Engagement Phase 3
From December 2022-January 2023, all who live, work, and play in Winona were invited to give input on the Interim Report of the City of Winona Comprehensive Plan Update. The purpose of the Interim Report was to provide community members with an update on the progress of the Comprehensive Plan Update, and offer another opportunity for input prior to the creation of the draft plan.
In this engagement report, you’ll find a summary of the input received. A complete set of raw data is also available with the release of this report, and the Interim Report itself is available to read as well.
The Comprehensive Plan Update is an overarching plan that sets specific, achievable goals that the city and community can work toward over the next 20 years. The plan covers 12 topics, including land use, housing, economic development, transportation, downtown, and more. The Interim Report contained goals, objectives, and strategies for each of the 12 topics. It also contained the plan’s draft vision and core values, and the future land use map.
The Comprehensive Plan Update project began in fall 2021 and will be completed in 2023. The project is led by a steering committee of 12 Winona residents appointed by Mayor Scott Sherman, along with City staff and consultants from HKGi and Engage Winona. In 2022, more than 100 city residents participated in Comprehensive Plan subcommittees to write the goals, objectives, and strategies in the Interim Report.
Engage Winona has conducted three phases of community engagement for the project so far, with engagement tools designed to meet people where they’re at and provide multiple avenues for involvement. In fall-winter 2021-2022, more than 2,000 people engaged around big questions that helped set the direction, vision, and core values for the plan. In winter 2022, over 200 weighed in on the draft vision and values. Over summer 2022, nearly 300 people helped paint community murals highlighting the vision and values. And in December 2022 - January 2023, 280 people gave input on the draft goals, objectives, and strategies.
Summary of Input
In the engagement, people enthusiastically shared their ideas, critiques, and visions for the draft goals, objectives, and strategies. Folks also shared areas where definitions, clarification, or additional context would be helpful as the project moves forward from Interim Report to draft Comprehensive Plan Update.
Comments and input from this phase of engagement help the project team as they prepare to write the draft Comprehensive Plan Update. City of Winona planning staff and technical consultants from HKGi will review all the comments and make revisions to the goals, objectives, and strategies based on the feedback received. The project team will then bring proposed changes to the steering committee for their input as well. The project team also uses input to determine where more information, context, and definitions need to be added in the draft plan to make it easier to understand, and to make the final version Comprehensive Plan Update - Interim Report Engagement Report 2 more explicitly reflective of the vision and values and overarching themes - equity, technology, and sustainability.
There are some themes that were consistent throughout the comments: people want a greater focus on equity, especially in terms of race and socio-economic class; they are deeply concerned about preserving and highlighting Winona’s nature and natural resources; they need more housing options, especially in terms of affordable housing and the end to housing segregation; they need thriving neighborhoods with parks and green spaces, walkable sidewalks, and viable small businesses; they need a stronger public transportation system, and an economic climate and a quality of life that attracts newcomers to move to Winona, work here and raise their families here.
The topics which received the most amount of comments in the engagement were: Land Use and Development (99 comments), Housing and Neighborhoods (85 comments), Transportation (76 comments), Downtown and Riverfront (67 comments), and Parks and Recreation (62 comments). When asked to rate their level of support for the goals in each topic, most participants expressed ‘Strong Support’ for eleven out of twelve topics. For Heritage Preservation more respondents chose ‘Some Support.’
Below, we’ll unpack the activities and approach to Interim Report engagement, followed by a section for input on each topic area.