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On the Table

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On the Table

Lexington Public Library, Ky.

Civic and Community Engagement | 2017 | Top Innovator

Innovation Summary

"On The Table" was a partnership between Lexington’s community foundation, city government, chamber of commerce, public schools, library and others to engage over 11,000 citizens in a series of community conversations on March 15, 2017. Discussion informed the city’s comprehensive plan and an executive summary will be published this fall.

Problem Statement

Public input for the city’s Comprehensive Plan traditionally lacks quantity and diversity. "On The Table" leveraged community partners to reach 11,000+ participants through small group conversations in social, professional and public settings. We made civic engagement fun and attainable by providing the tools for conversation, feedback mechanisms and publicity for the initiative. The library was a planning partner, hosted eight public sessions and provided free spaces for more than 200 individuals to discuss Lexington’s future.


Innovation

We simplified civic engagement by bringing it to the people. We reached out to individuals, non-profit organizations, religious groups, neighborhood associations, schools, etc. to make it easy and fun to get involved. The library was at the center of the planning and hosting of small group conversations, creating a safe, non-partisan space for community members to gather, talk and share a meal to put their issues “on the table.”


Progress

We aimed for 5,000 participants, but thanks to community support, outreach efforts, and publicity, over 11,000 Lexingtonians participated in the conversation. The city received 200 percent more community input than in previous Comprehensive Plan updates (when only a few hundred citizens participated), and the upcoming executive summary will guide public and private organizations. We heard from more people about the future of our city so that we can build our community to meet its unique needs.