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  • Writer's pictureBarb Bickford

From Community to City

Updated: May 2

Last week, I stood at the side of the City Council chamber, mentally preparing myself to summarize two years of volunteer work. On camera.

Nervously, I looked down and realized that - out of habit - I had put on my dirty brown gardening shoes. “At least I’m well grounded,” I thought. And I reminded myself that this is not about me.

It was about the 200 people who contributed ideas for enjoying and caring for Lily Lake and its park. Their suggestions -- worded in a way that everyone supported -- evolved into a set of Guiding Principles for the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

We, the Friends of Lily Lake, used the Guiding Principles to evaluate the many ideas suggested and consolidate the ideas into a proposal with short, medium and long term projects.

The City Council and Mayor received our proposal enthusiastically. While formal approval is yet to come, they appreciated the Guiding Principles and the creative proposals suggested by their constituents.

If you're curious how this worked during a pandemic, go to this link and click on “Friends of Lily Lake Presentation.” After a short introduction by Mike Lyner, President of the Friends of Lily Lake, I describe how we gathered public input. The report submitted to the city is here.

We based our process on Convergent Facilitation, which seeks to make decisions that everyone can support. To learn more about CF, read this Introduction or visit the Convergent Facilitation website.


This blog is the first of three about our CF process. Read the second post "How do you gather shared public input during a pandemic?" here and the third post "How do you evaluate hundreds of ideas at once?" here.

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