People from all over the 19 counties of the Flint Hills Frontiers region will be coming together on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Emporia, KS to build off of the work done during the many months of data collection and community meetings that started in 2012. Attendees will review information gathered by the planning team as well as see what visions, goals and action items their fellow Flint Hills residents came up with at the Community Vision Meetings held in March, April and May of this year. This will also be the time to start diving deeper on the 7 Issue Areas of the planning framework that have everything to do with the kinds of places, policies, programs, and projects that affect our lives, livelihoods and communities up and down the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma. To prepare for this exciting "meeting of the minds" those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP and look through the following materials:
Doors open at 9:30am for registration. The meeting will officially start at 10 am in the main offices of Emporia Unified School District #253 located at 1700 West 7th Street, Emporia, KS 66801.
The third Governor’s Flint Hills Summit gathered over two hundred regional stakeholders for conversations and presentations around the future of the Flint Hills.
The Flint Hills Frontiers planning team took part in the day’s activities through presentations and leading breakout sessions. BNIM’s Bob Berkebile, Christina Hoxie and Zach Flanders summarized the ‘systems approach’ being taken by the project and the timeline of the work plan that will take place in the 19 county project-area over the next two years. Highlighting some of the baseline findings from demographics to economics, the team portrayed a dynamic region with many challenges and plenty of engaging opportunities.
Liz Hendricks, from Public Square Communities, LLC, spoke of their organizations work on behalf of the Frontiers project, bringing grass-roots communities conversations to the region. With two conversations already begun and three more in the works, these regional conversations will lead to regional visioning sessions in March and April.
The afternoon breakout sessions focused on the relationships between the biggest challenges to our region. Although we often look at the challenges and solutions, we rarely ask how these solutions might relate, both positively and negatively to other areas and other challenges. This simple twist, to investigate the interrelatedness of our systems, brought forth lively discussions, which will eventually lead to a ‘tool-box’ of possibilities for Flint Hills communities and a coordinated Regional Plan for growth.
The Flint Hills Frontiers project is also helping to bring together economic development interests through the formation of the Flint Hills Economic Development District. The seven-county project area includes Chase, Geary, Lyon, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley & Wabaunsee counties and is led by a twenty-six member Citizen Strategy Committee, under the Federal Economic Development Administration’s guidelines. This voluntary effort is another regional attempt to bring together shared resources and coordinate plans for a regional vision for the Flint Hills and to fill in the gap that currently exists in the state of Kansas for Federal Economic Development designation for this area and giving the region access to federal economic development funds. Building a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy will take place over the next year, with Citizen Strategy Committee meetings and larger public meetings taking place throughout the region over the next year.
The Frontiers project has launched its flinthillsfrontiers.org website, where all of the latest happenings, all meeting materials and all up-coming events can be found. The Frontiers also has a lively Forum for discussion with other citizens on ideas and issues central to the Flint Hills. This can be found at forum.flinthillsregion.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
So far, the Frontiers has engaged over 600 citizens in interviews, meetings or conversations and our web and social media have connected us with over 700 neighbors and friends