On July 26th, 2022, community leaders for the City of Montpelier hosted a community meeting at the Montpelier Civic Center to discuss the new comprehensive and park plans for the city. The purpose of this meeting was to allow citizens of Montpelier / Blackford County to engage with the community and voice their opinions on issues important to them. The line for the event was out the door, with 66 community residents in attendance.
“We were very encouraged by the turnout at this meeting. You often see towns three times the size of Montpelier that can’t get this many people to a meeting. It really is a testament to Montpelier’s community pride and desire for positive change,” said Parks Plan Lead Devan Smith from the ECI Regional Planning District.
After signing in, attendees got to enjoy a meal from Subway as well as other snacks. Mayor Kathy Bantz welcomed community members, introduced
the city and county leaders, and then the consultant firm, RQAW, led the community through a series of exercises. These exercises focused on identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT Analysis) of the community.
Devan Smith introduced the Parks Planning process and had the community vote through a “dotting exercise” for the most desired amenities and most significant weaknesses of the parks by choosing their top 5 of the options identified by focus groups conducted in June. Susie Ripley, a facilitator of RQAW, then had them do the same dotting exercise and vote for the 5 potential city improvements they would most like to see. “Parks and planning are both very integral pieces of healthy and vibrant community,” said Ripley.
The evening ended with Mayor Bantz giving some concluding remarks and drawing a raffle for three gift cards which were funded through generous donations from RQAW and Kaiser Consulting, a firm doing historic preservation work in the city’s downtown.
“Thank you to all who helped set up and clean up at the Community Forum held at the Civic Center on July 26th. I was extremely pleased with the attendance and the lively conversation. We had no idea what to expect – anywhere from 5-105 people potentially. Everyone was respectful and courteous with their comments throughout the evening. I believe the evening provided a lot of good information to the general public about how grants work. Also, our Engineering firm received a lot of good ideas to be used for both the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Parks Plan,” said Mayor Bantz.