December 6, 2017
On November 18th about 150 people gathered for a workshop to share their ideas and visions about the future of Norwalk. The event, which took place at The Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School, was the first opportunity for the public to help shape Norwalk’s new Citywide Plan (POCD).
The morning started with a greeting by Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, followed by a presentation explaining the citywide plan with a snapshot of Norwalk, its demographics, economy, housing, transportation, etc. Analytical maps on these topics were available for viewing on easels around the room.
Public participation began with attendees taking a smartphone interactive survey on the demographics of the people in the room and their experience of living in Norwalk. Seated in small groups with a map of Norwalk at each table, participants then did a series of individual and group exercises. The groups identified on the map and then discussed Norwalk’s assets and challenges. Each person wrote a personal vision for Norwalk 20 years from now and shared their vision with others around the table.
After the groups discussed their visions for the future, they identified common themes and then agreed on the top five elements or issues they would like to see in a 20-year vision for the future. Finally, each table presented their findings to the entire room. Among the priority issues were a strong economy with good jobs; better connections, including bicycle and pedestrian networks; an excellent school system; protection and enhancement of parks and the natural environment; housing affordability; and embracing Norwalk’s diversity. Participants were also asked to complete a parking and redevelopment survey.
Some of the participants’personal visions for Norwalk’s future follow:
“I see a city in 20 years that is inclusive, welcoming a diverse group of people from all walks of life. I envision a strong school system that prepares all students for life/career.”
“Multi-use inner city with easy public transportation to unite the multiple ‘districts’ into one city.”
““I would like to see more affordable housing for residents and higher paying jobs for residents throughout the city.”
Top-level schools, friendly and diverse, many community events and involvement. Keep the ‘small town’ feel…”
“We need to innovate and attract technology, and healthcare companies… We should protect coastline and riverfront from pollution and overdevelopment. We should aspire to be a united community.”
Participants’ personal visions can be viewed here. Other materials from the meeting are also available on this web site: Overview of the Citywide Plan/POCD, Norwalk At A Glance, Norwalk Today presentation, analytical maps. If you couldn’t make it to the visioning forum, you can submit your personal vision for Norwalk’s future here.
To cap off the morning, a raffle was held, sponsored by Norwalk Now with prizes donated by local participating retail and restaurant businesses.