We have a guest post from Sean Savoy, LGBT advocate and founder/director of NiCE (Nevada Interfaith Coalition for Equality and Inclusion), reflecting on the LBGT focus group held in late September at Reno City Hall:
In the once-every-20-year comprehensive update to the City of Reno’s Master Plan, the City is embracing diversity in the process as never before. Focus groups — from the Asian community to seniors to neighborhoods to those people interested in issues like climate change and historic preservation — were called to gather at City Hall and at various other municipal locations from August through October in an effort to engage as many of the City’s diverse community sectors as possible in the important visioning phase of the project.
The City of Reno invited a group that has traditionally gone unrecognized to participate in the City’s community engagement effort: for the first time in its history, the City of Reno called upon the LGBT community to voice its opinion on key questions posed during the focus group process. The September 24th LGBT focus group had attendance of nearly 50 people. City staff organized the gathering into smaller subgroups to ask essential questions whose answers will help guide the City’s new master plan — a long-range policy document that will serve as a blueprint for the City of Reno in terms of land use, transportation, environment, parks and open spaces, the economy, and housing.
The Mayor’s decision to reach out to the LGBT community demonstrates that Reno can continue to move forward progressively, embracing and involving its varied and diverse citizenry to the benefit of the City. The more voices that are heard, the greater the consensus can be on what Reno should become in the years ahead to meet the needs of all its citizens.
ReImagine Reno is indeed the City’s deepest public engagement effort to date, and has strived to connect with all stakeholders. We have crossed our initial engagement goal of 4000 and even surpassed our stretch engagement goal of 5000 people. It would be great to reach a total of 6000 by the end of this first phase, so please encourage your friends, family and colleges to take the survey. It is open through the end of October. Here is the link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/reimaginereno.