Shawnee unveils latest draft of 5 pillars to shape city’s first strategic vision

Shawnee is wrapping up its strategic visioning process for the city's future. Above, Boy Scouts marched out front at the 53rd annual Old Shawnee Days parade this summer. File photo credit Andrew Poland.

Shawnee residents, business owners and other stakeholders gathered online to participate in the city’s fifth and final “imagineering” session as Shawnee wraps up its strategic visioning process for the future.

During the Zoom conference call Friday afternoon, Mike Mowery with Strategic Government Resources led a presentation on the proposed five pillars Shawnee’s long-term strategic vision will be based on, along with related milestones.

“We’re not saying that there aren’t other things that your city staff is going to work on,” he said. “But we’re saying, vision-wise, these are five key things that will really shape the future of Shawnee.”

Imagine Shawnee is the process being used by the city to work with stakeholders to “establish a unified vision for the future” of the community, Mowery said.

City leaders saw an earlier draft of the pillars last week and made their own tweaks.

Below is a copy of the draft pillars and subsequent milestones based on steering committee work, public input, and city council feedback, as presented at the online imagineering session:

1. Attract diverse housing to meet the needs of a growing city

  • Develop a mix of housing options to serve a broad range of households and income levels
  • Be innovative in mixed use developments
  • Revitalize needed areas with infill housing developments
  • Integrate multi-family housing with existing development

2. Create a safe, sustainable, inclusive, and interactive community

  • Continue to be a leader in public safety best practices
  • Promote health, connectedness, and sense of belonging in every neighborhood
  • Develop creative partnerships to expand public transit opportunities
  • Make downtown a premier, interactive, and unique destination
  • Integrate sustainability and conservation in planning to create a resilient city and improve quality of life
  • Generate opportunities for recreation, public art, history, and cultural experiences
  • Design an environment where businesses thrive

3. Identify areas that would be attractive to commercial development

  • Attract and retain business clusters that will create a sustainable business culture
  • Recruit businesses that will make downtown a premier destination
  • Create a Corporate Business Park to attract additional Fortune 100 companies
  • Encourage parks and recreational opportunities in commercial development

4. Lead in maximizing and integrating natural resources

  • Capitalize on Shawnee’s unique topography and geography by integrating it into developments and site designs
  • Promote innovation and efficiency in design standards as updates are made to the Comprehensive Plan
  • Incorporate natural resource access into development
  • Utilize the Kansas River in future recreational opportunities

5. Provide exceptional city services and infrastructure

  • Support residents in maintaining property through safe building codes that promote new construction and renovation
  • Promote beautification by establishing innovative code enforcement strategies
  • Provide state of the art stormwater systems through regional partnerships that protect residents’ properties
  • Create a continuity of regional connections through sidewalks, paths, and trails
  • Grow and cultivate a workforce of servant leaders who are fully equipped and prepared to carry out the Vision of Shawnee
  • Maintain and expand a quality road system, utilizing concepts that promote efficiency and sustainability
  • Establish an infrastructure development plan

Julie Breithaupt, communications manager for the city, said 37 participants joined the video call. Combined, the city has received public input from more than 600 people for the strategic visioning process.

Mayor Michelle Distler thanked residents and business owners for their ongoing participation, especially during the stay-at-home order, which prohibits large gatherings usually utilized during the public engagement process of developing a strategic vision.

“I’ve been incredibly impressed with…bringing such a diverse group of residents together over the multiple imagineering sessions, regardless of age or any other type of background,” Distler said. “It was just amazing to me that as a city, again the themes were consistent every time across every group of people, and there really weren’t any surprises. I’m just proud of my city.”

City staff will put out another survey this week for further public input.

The city budgeted about $225,000 for the strategic visioning process and has about $65,000 left on the contact with Heller and Heller Consultants Inc., which is leading the process and is tapping into the services of Strategic Government Resources.

The city council will conduct a special meeting Tuesday evening to go over the Imagine Shawnee plan and the city’s parks master plan. Afterward, the city council will review a final draft of the pillars and subsequent milestones on April 27.