It’s become hyperbole at this point when elected officials say they want to know what you think. Usually, they only really care if you are writing a large check to go with that opinion. Well, what if I told you that not only does the City of Atchison City Commission want to know what you think, but we’ll give you a chance at winning some great Chiefs Super Bowl gear for telling us?

The City of Atchison is building a strategic plan, and we need your help. A plan is only as good as the input that goes into it. The strategic plan will define the City’s vision, core values, and aspirations. From this, it will also lay out strategic goals and implementation strategies.

There are several ways that you can engage with this process. The first, and easiest, is to visit the City of Atchison website and click on the 2020 Strategic Plan button. From there, you can take an online survey and give your feedback from the comfort of your own home.

Also available on the strategic plan site is an Atchison snapshot. This breaks down interesting facts about our City into separate categories. For instance, we have 24% of citizens living at or below the poverty rate. That’s double the state average. That gives a little perspective when looking at the challenges facing Atchison.

We’re not going to wait for you to come to us, though. Throughout February, we will be visiting community groups and bringing the opportunity to you. With our collaboration kits, we have an interactive way to get feedback. If you have a group that you think needs to be heard, we would love to come to your meeting to get your perspective on what Atchison does well, and what we need to improve.

To participate, you can reach out to a commissioner or city staff. We have already completed several outreach events, and are looking to do as many as we can fit in a month.

All of this will be leading up to our Community Visioning Workshop at the Atchison Event Center from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29. This will be our big event where we try to get input from as many people as possible. You can come and go as you please and participate in as much or as little as you choose.

The workshop will be set up like a trade show, except it’s all about Atchison. Learn about your community from a new perspective and take part in fun, interactive activities designed to elicit valuable feedback. Besides, this is where you will have the chance to win some Chiefs Super Bowl swag.

From there, the City will bring together all the responses to get a view on what Atchison prioritizes and how we might achieve it. It will be incredibly useful to the city commission as we work through the budget. Atchison will have the information to make impactful decisions based on our values and vision.

I hope you will find an opportunity for this process. You have a unique and meaningful view of Atchison. Make sure you share it.

Shawn Rizza has served on the City of Atchison City Commission since January 2018, following his election to a four-year term in November 2017. His colleagues appointed him as mayor for a second one-year term in December 2019.

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