We listened to municipal leaders across Idaho, who told us they are looking for opportunities to engage and connect their communities, with the goal of strengthening relationships among community members and creating a sense of solidarity.
That’s why we created The Community Project. This pilot grant program launched in 2022 with a goal of uniting Idahoans through outdoor places to love.
Three Idaho cities — Chubbuck, Driggs and Wendell — received grants in 2022. Leaders from those communities spent the past year going through a professionally-guided process that helped them, other city staff and community leaders develop skills and tools for impactful community engagement.
Each city conducted extensive community engagement through surveys, in-person appearances at community events and popular places to gather feedback about what residents wanted to see in an outdoor place where people could gather.
Here is a quick update on where each city is in the process.
The city opened its new city hall in 2021, and officials are hoping the new facility will serve as a destination for residents that can help the community thrive. Events, including food truck rallies and markets, are attracting residents and visitors to the area. The city is taking feedback it received from community engagement to develop a park near city hall where people can gather to eat, seek shade, and socialize. Amenities for the space are still being considered and determined.
Throughout the process, Chubbuck received training to make its social media communications more effective and branded through a tool kit that was provided as part of the grant. This allows the city to better communicate with its residents about important news and events happening in the city.
City hall has always been a gathering place for visitors and residents in the city. The city conducted surveys and sought public feedback for how to enhance the space at community events and make this space more user-friendly, especially in the hot summer months.
The results of the community engagement showed increasing shade, places to sit and gather, art installations and unstructured play areas were priorities. The city is working to take that feedback and enhance the plaza in front of the city hall this spring and summer.
The City of Wendell, known as the Hub City, is divided by a state highway. It’s problematic for children and families who want to walk to the city park. City leaders identified land that could be turned into a park that would give residents access to a park without having the highway.
City officials wanted to engage residents and learn what they wanted to see in this new park. Throughout that journey, city officials used the assets and skills delivered through The Community Project to launch a “Love the Hub” campaign on social media to encourage residents to talk about why they love their city. The city also started a newsletter to keep residents informed and continue to build the sense of community.
The city hired a landscape architect to design potential options for the new park based on feedback. The city hopes to begin construction on the park this year.