It’s been nearly a month since we officially kicked off the Frankenmuth Heart and Soul process. More than 150 people attended the meeting on Thursday, January 23 to learn about the project, the process and enjoy some great lasagna (courtesy of the Frankenmuth School District.) We want to take this opportunity to share with you what Heart and Soul is – what it isn’t and what we’ve learned at the meeting.
We’ve had people ask what project will we build as a result and the answer is we may not build anything. What we hope to accomplish is:
- Creating a more unified community
- Creating new opportunities for different segments of our community to work together, foster new relationships and increase mutual understanding
- A vision for the future based on our shared community values
What really happens with Heart and Soul depends on what community members say is important to them. The way we describe Frankenmuth Heart and Soul is: an Engagement Process to ensure all residents have a voice in the future of our beloved community.
What did we learn from the kick off meeting?
While about 200 residents attended the meeting, only 155 people signed in and shared their demographic data – 87 women and 62 men. Of those who attended the meeting, more than 96% were white. In terms of age, our most represented age group were those 45-64. Our least represented age group were people 19-24 with just four people. When we asked how long they have lived in the community, the most common answer was 21-35 years. The fewest responses were from those who have lived in the community 60 years or more. At the meeting we asked residents what they loved about Frankenmuth, what they would change, and how they would experience Frankenmuth and what is fun and free in Frankenmuth. While about 200 residents attended the meeting, not everyone participated in these exercises. For those who did, when it comes to what they loved about Frankenmuth, the number one thing people identified was the community – which includes everything from the “small town feel” to the “way people pull together to do things.”
When it comes to what they would change, people who attended the meeting focused on traffic and transportation – mentioned everything from less traffic on Main Street, to reducing speed to finding a way to make sure pedestrian use crosswalks. When asked what is fun and free in Frankenmuth participants overwhelming identified activities like concerts in the park, festivals, and Friday Fun nights. A close second was outdoor activities including kayaking and walking through town.
If you want to know the best way to experience Frankenmuth, those at the meeting said the best way to do is to get involved including volunteering. The second best way to experience Frankenmuth is on foot – with dozens of people suggesting to get out and walk through neighborhoods and downtown.
To view the raw data from each of the questions, click the links below:
We think we are missing some voices in our community. In particular, we don’t think we’ve heard from young families, people who rent their homes, teenagers and younger people. We are also missing older, life-long residents. We need your help connecting with these groups in particular. During the next few months we will continue to offer opportunities for people to share what is important to them. If you have ideas or would like to get involved, let us know. Before we start phase 2 of this project, we need to ensure that we are providing everyone the chance to get involved.