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Executive Summary

Draft

November 27, 2012


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Table of Contents Frequently Asked Questions

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Project Timeline

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Project Roles

6

Issue Areas

8

How to Get Involved

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Produced By: Flint Hills Regional Council 500 Huebner Rd. Fort Riley, KS 66442 221 W Main, Council Grove, KS 66846 Toll Free: 855.785.FHRC Fax: 855.FAX.FHRC


Frequently Asked Questions What is Flint Hills Frontiers?

Flint Hills Frontiers is an opportunity to come together and explore the future of our homeland. The Flint Hills cross political and social boundaries. The Flint Hills Frontiers Project Area encompasses 19 counties of the eco-region that stretch across Kansas and Oklahoma. Over the next three years, the people of this region will establish their vision and path forward to accomplish their goals. Participation will give you and your organization a voice in the outcomes, provide opportunities to gain an intimate understanding of the region’s strengths and needs, and give access to new tools for evaluating investments and measuring progress on regional goals. Involvement may even pave the way towards increased funding opportunities for your community as it becomes a more integrated part of the regional vision for increased health and vibrancy. Please be a part of this important work!

Flint Hills Frontiers Map KS

What does the Flint Hills Frontiers hope to accomplish?

We hope to find new ways to make our communities more vibrant. To start this conversation, Flint Hills Frontiers will form collaborative connections between stakeholders, issue experts, and individuals around the three main topics described below.

Economic Vitality

The Flint Hills is a unique asset to Kansas and northern Oklahoma which can be leveraged to help sustain the economic viability of its smaller towns and outlying agricultural lands, while also ensuring the continued vibrancy of its more urban areas.

National Defense

Fort Riley is a critical asset to national defense. By avoiding habitat degradation elsewhere in the Flint Hills, encroachment into Fort Riley’s training area can be avoided and its overall mission can be preserved.

OK Cultural & Natural Resource Preservation

The Flint Hills contains history, heritage, cultures, and ecology found nowhere else in the world, and to sustain its people, economies, and ecosystems, careful and balanced stewardship of these resources is called for.

Flint Hills Counties Flint Hills Ecoregion


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Who is working on this?

A number of cities, counties, and other organizations have already committed to working together on the Flint Hills Frontiers Project. This group makes up our inaugural stakeholders. We are looking for more partners from every community of this region, and we need your help in order to get this right. There are many different ways for you to be involved as a stakeholder, a technical advisor, or a passionate community member. Please see the last question for a description of volunteer opportunities and contact information.

Inaugural Stakeholders*

• •

How will we get this done?

The priorities of the region come from you. A core planning team will facilitate and convene interest groups across the region to collect information and aspirations and study possible strategies to accomplish your goals. Options for accomplishing your goals will be assembled for your consideration and decision. The new connections formed during this process will result in a greater capacity to achieve the results you envision. The path forward is paved by the commitment of all participants in programs, projects, and policies identified through this process.

Who is paying for this?

The stakeholders won a competitive grant for nearly $2 million from the Office of Sustainable Housing & Communities of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. These resources have been made available to the Flint Hills to provide expertise and coordination that is not normally available to help advance local goals and address local priorities at no cost to the communities. You determine what the priorities are for this work and what will strengthen your community!

How can I get involved?

Help build the vision of Flint Hills Frontiers! Share your thoughts, concerns, and priorities. Identify community needs and priorities across the region. Encourage your organization to join the stakeholders. Attend workshops, visit our website, or get involved with a research committee on a topic that matters to you and your community. Our hard work together will be worth the effort and we need everyone’s help – young and old, reserved and outspoken, those of limited or larger means. It takes all of us to make a difference for our future.

• • • • • • • • • • •

Camp Wood YMCA Flint Hills Regional Council • Abilene • Alma • Alta Vista • Chapman • Clay Center • Council Grove • Dwight • Geary County • Grandview Plaza • Junction City • Manhattan • Morris County • Pottawatomie County • Riley • Riley County • Wamego • Wabaunsee County • Woodbine Flint Hills Tourism Coalition Fort Riley Governor’s Military Council Kansas Horse Council Kansas State Forest Service Kansas State University KSU Research & Extension Kanza Rail | Trail Conservancy Pottawatomie County Economic Development Priddle & Associates Symphony in the Flint Hills

*Interested in joining the stakeholders or just getting in touch? Contact: community@flinthillsfrontiers.org; 855.785.FHRC


Project Timeline 2012 Aug

PROCESS

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2013 Jan Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

MOBILIZE DISCOVER ANALYZE PLAN

STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS Kickoff

COMMUNITY MEETINGS Visioning

DELIVERABLES Flint Hills Frontiers Forum Virtual Town Hall Launch

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Vision Document

Prioritization


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Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2014 Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

The Flint Hills Frontiers Project follows the six phase process outlined below: Mobilize: The mobilize phase involves staffing the project, initiating the stakeholders and other groups, and establishing lines of communication. Discover: During the discover phase, the stakeholders and the public will create a vision for the future of the Flint Hills. Analyze: The planning team will analyze the data and feedback to determine the biggest opportunities for the Flint Hills’ future based on the vision of goals determined in the discover phase. Plan: Working collaboratively with the community through meetings, a website, and other events, the planning team will create the plan recommendations. Adopt: During adoption, stakeholders will work to achieve consensus on the final plan and integrate the plan into their organizations’ activities.

ADOPT IMPLEMENT

Draft Plan Review

Final Plan Review Draft Plan

Final Plan

ds hi p > tio n an d Stewar bu ri nt Co of re Ri si ng Cu ltu ec ts > Im pl em en t Proj

Implement: The planning team will complete the implementation plan, which documents tasks and responsibilities, priorities, time frames, and costs. Stakeholders will begin to implement projects and strategies from the plan.


Project Roles The Flint Hills Frontiers engagement plan includes the following roles: Stakeholders Executive Committee Issue Area Working Groups Issue Experts Firestarters

Stakeholders

Stakeholders include members from local governments, state agencies, and public and private entities and represent interests in housing, planning, transportation, economic development, research, education, health, culture, and other topics. As partners in the planning process, stakeholders represent residents and communities throughout the region, bringing valuable knowledge of the issues and community interests unique to each area of the region. Members of the stakeholder group will contribute experience and consistent hands-on involvement to the planning process. They will lend expertise, advice, and resources, as appropriate and possible, in areas of data, outreach, and other support. Executive Committee: A small decision-making arm of the stakeholders will be nominated and elected as the Executive Committee in order to make decisions, respond nimbly to planning team questions, and update the larger group on week-to-week activities. This group will consist of two stakeholder members from the Regional Council’s membership, two members from the Governor’s Work Group, two Issue Experts, and one member from our Tribal partners. The FHRC and its Key Partners will staff and facilitate the work of the Executive Committee. Members of this group are designated as spokespeople for the planning process and completed work. Their involvement process should develop a strong sense of ownership of plan implementation.

Community Public Square Communities, Inc. Activators Planning Team

Issue Area Working Groups: All stakeholders will self-select into one of seven workgroups. Members may serve on multiple groups if they so desire. Each workgroup will focus on one of the following planning topics: built environment, mobility and transportation, opportunity and economic development, farming and ranching, natural systems, cultural systems, and social systems. Workgroup members will form partnerships, identify opportunities and challenges, develop strategies, and look for ways to implement projects identified in the planning process. While workgroups will focus on the specific topic areas, they will also develop cross-sector connections to ensure a deeper analysis that cuts across various topic areas. Collaboration among workgroup members, and across workgroups, will be a critical element of the project. Firestarters: Key working group members, called Firestarters, will be responsible for engagement. The key to success in the outreach campaign is to recruit individuals and organizations that are known and respected in the community to invite their members, constituencies, colleagues, contacts, neighbors, friends, and family to participate. Firestarters will build and develop relationships with critical “word spreaders” (extension agents, town criers, media representatives) to initiate this process of communication and trust building. Each Issue Area working group will have at least one Firestarter, though multiple Firestarters will strengthen outreach efforts. One Firestarter will be selected to Chair the Issue Area workgroup. Issue Experts: Issue experts are technical advisors who will guide the planning team on issues requiring specific expertise in the region. These community members will represent both the academic perspective and that of practitioners. The planning team will seek out a broad base of experts to ensure a knowledge base of both rural and urban issues. This technical group will advise the planning team on data collection and analysis and will provide feedback on planning scenarios and recommendations.


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Public

The broader community of individual residents and private property owners, those who will be directly impacted by plan implementation, represent the most critical voices in the dialogue. The Planning Team and stakeholders will have direct interaction with members of the public in order to understand their needs, priorities, vision, and goals for the future of the Flint Hills. The community will also respond to planning scenarios and recommended strategies. Finally, the community will prioritize the strategies for implementation. Public Square Communities, Inc: Public Square Communities (PSC) is a grassroots Kansasbased organization that identifies, connects, and develops community leaders who transform towns, cities, counties, and regions into thriving communities which nourish youth, engage citizens, and foster partnerships. PSC engages all four sectors of the community: Business, Education, Government, and Humans Services and their process grows from the community. PSC has gained the trust and confidence of a wide network of Kansans and through starting the regional public process with local community conversations, the regional plan will grow from the grassroots up. Activators: The planning team, stakeholders, and working groups will all have direct interaction with members of the public in order to understand their needs, priorities, vision, and goals for the future of the Flint Hills, but some citizens will be called on to champion specific tasks and forge connections across issue areas. These members are Activators and will reach beyond the boundaries of topics into discrete communities. Activators will be responsible for maintaining ongoing communication with the public in their communities, keeping citizens informed and engaged in the planning process, and helping to identify opportunities for plan implementation.

Planning Team

The Planning Team includes the Flint Hills Regional Council (a non-profit regional planning organization with voluntary membership from across the region), BNIM, LEAM Group, Biomimicry 3.8, and Innative. This group is responsible for facilitating meetings of the stakeholders and the public, collecting information, and developing plan strategies.


Issue Areas Flint Hills Frontiers starts with conversations. The areas of interest that have been identified so far are: Natural Systems, Cultural Systems, Social Systems, Farming and Ranching, Opportunity and Economic Development, Mobility and Transportation, and Built Environment. Below are brief descriptions of these topics.

Natural Systems

The tallgrass ecosystem holds moisture and nutrients, creating soil and protecting against drought, filtering and storing groundwater, providing food, and creating the conditions for a vibrant ranching and agricultural economy. What can we all do to keep the Flint Hills alive and thriving?

Cultural Systems

The rich cultural heritage of the Flint Hills is a treasure to be celebrated and fostered as we face tough challenges and find creative solutions for our path forward. The people of the Flint Hills are the heartbeat of the tallgrass prairie. We express our heritage and identity through community gatherings, artistic creations, and agricultural, educational, and military institutions. Our cultural systems are a most vital resource for the vision of our path forward.

Social Systems

The health and well-being of our residents and nature of the Flint Hills are key to a vibrant, sustainable future. Kansans have a long history of strong self-sufficiency, but with tough economic times also come real hardships. The more that supportive networks of programs can creatively collaborate and pool their limited resources, the more efficient they will be in helping to maintain an acceptable standard of housing, education, and health care for all people of the Flint Hills.

Farming and Ranching

Farming and ranching form the basis of human life in the Flint Hills. How can we continue to support farming and ranching and continue to adapt practices to changing market and ecological conditions?

Opportunity and Economic Development

We need the ability to create and find meaningful jobs, relationships, and places that allow us to survive and thrive. In the Flint Hills, these opportunities range from age-old ranching practices on the tallgrass prairie to the latest research advances at Kansas State and Emporia State Universities. From international companies such as CAT and Foot Locker to the most local of businesses operating on Main Street, the Frontiers project reaches across a dynamic landscape that is home to Fort Riley’s Big Red One, as well as the Kaw and Osage Nations.

Mobility and Transportation

Getting from point A to point B; it’s simple, but connects us to so many things. From work to play, our transportation systems are vital to our way of life. To travel the Flint Hills is to be taken deep into the heart of America, through nationally designated Scenic Byways and meandering country roads. Whether on bike, on the Flint Hills Nature Trail, or in the stands, in a Kansas State Wildcat victory, there are endless things to see and do in the Flint Hills and endless Frontiers to explore.

Built Environment

The built environment has a major impact on our quality of life, economy, and natural environment. Do our communities have the right amount of retail space to meet their needs? Are factories located in the most efficient space relative to their inputs and transportation needs? How do we revitalize traditional downtowns and attract tourists? These are questions that will be explored as part of the built environment system.


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How to Get Involved Issue Area Working Groups:

All stakeholders will self-select into one of six workgroups. Members may serve on multiple groups if they so desire. Each workgroup will focus on one of the following planning topics: built environment, mobility and transportation, opportunity and economic development, natural and agricultural systems, cultural systems, and social systems. Workgroup members will form partnerships, identify opportunities and challenges, develop strategies, and look for ways to implement projects identified in the planning process. While workgroups will focus on the specific topic areas, they will also develop cross-sector connections to ensure a deeper analysis that cuts across various topic areas. Collaboration among workgroup members, and across workgroups, will be a critical element of the project.

Issue Experts:

Issue experts are technical advisors who will guide the planning team on issues requiring specific expertise in the region. These community members will represent both the academic perspective and that of practitioners. The planning team will seek out a broad base of experts to ensure a knowledge base of both rural and urban issues. This technical group will advise the planning team on data collection and analysis and will provide feedback on planning scenarios and recommendations. Ideally, these community members will join the stakeholders and take part in issue area working groups to learn about the progress of the plan, provide input and expertise about issues affecting the area, and answer the questions of the consulting team.

Community Conversations with Public Square Communities, Inc:

Public Square Communities (PSC) is a grassroots Kansas-based organization that identifies, connects, and develops community leaders who transform towns, cities, counties, and regions into thriving communities which nourish youth, engage citizens, and foster partnerships. PSC engages all four sectors of the community: Business, Education, Government, and Humans Services and their process grows from the community. PSC has gained the trust and confidence of a wide network of Kansans, and through starting the regional public process with local community conversations, the regional plan will grow from the grassroots up.

Activators:

The planning team, stakeholders, and working groups will all have direct interaction with members of the public in order to understand their needs, priorities, vision, and goals for the future of the Flint Hills, but some citizens will be called on to champion specific tasks and forge connections across issue areas. These members are Activators and will reach beyond the boundaries of topics into discrete communities. Activators will be responsible for maintaining ongoing communication with the public in their communities, keeping citizens informed and engaged in the planning process, and helping to identify opportunities for plan implementation.

What to expect Frequency of workgroup meetings determined by the group as work progresses and the group creates a plan of action and responsibilities. Most meetings will be held remotely via conference call or video conference. The annual Consortium meetings are opportunities to get together face-to-face, and the three rounds of public meetings between January 2013 and January 2014 are other opportunities to come together and understand the possibilities of your work.

Interested in joining the conversation? Flint Hills Regional Council: community@flinthillsfrontiers.org 855.785.FHRC

www.facebook.com/pages/Flint-Hills-Frontiers/ 438649782811858 www.twitter.com/FrontiersPlan www.flinthillsfrontiers.org


Interested in joining the conversation? Flint Hills Regional Council: community@flinthillsfrontiers.org 855.785.FHRC

www.facebook.com/pages/Flint-Hills-Frontiers/ 438649782811858 www.twitter.com/FrontiersPlan www.flinthillsfrontiers.org

Flint Hills Regional Council | BNIM Architects | LEAM Group | Biomimicry 3.8 | Innative 221 W Main, Council Grove, KS 66846 | 500 Huebner Rd., Fort Riley, KS 66442 | 855.785.FHRC | 855.FAX.FHRC

Flint Hills Executive Summary (Updated)  

Updated executive summary

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