How Is Your Community Achieving Social and Cultural Vitality?

ARTICLE | Oct 13, 2015



Rebecca Fleury

City Manager

Battle Creek, Michigan



Battle Creek (52,347 population) is in the midst of an initiative called BC Vision. This community-driven conversation facilitated by a major employer and philanthropic leader is helping us listen to and understand what our community feels is important in creating a culture of vitality.

Defining our culture of vitality involves a multitude of community conversations to determine community themes. To date, those themes include providing one-stop-shopping for city services; engaging in a variety of events that showcase our ethnically diverse and artistically talented residents; encouraging and supporting a sense of place; reinvigorating the physical and built environment for all ages; ensuring safe neighborhoods; having an active and lively downtown; and providing fair and equitable service.

None of these efforts can be successful unless we constantly communicate and work together. #TeamBattleCreek






Joseph Mosley, ICMA-CM

Manager in Transition

Metter, Georgia



Metter (4,100 population) worked with the Candler County Board of Education in 2014 to acquire two abandoned school campuses free of charge.

The elementary school campus will become a law enforcement center and new community park. A city agreement with the newly formed Candler County Boys & Girls Club provides one wing at the middle school campus for its programs. Through local funding, the club finished its first year of operations and worked with some 120 students from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Metter’s elected officials also approved improvements to Jaycee Park, an active park located in a mixed-ethnic neighborhood. Residents were invited to provide redevelopment ideas. When the concept plan was completed, a grant was secured to replace playground equipment. The city funded a matching portion and in June 2015, a community group constructed the new equipment.






Roy Hardy, ICMA-CM

City Manager

Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada



Our small city (6,500 population) on the Canadian Prairies is experiencing growth not seen in decades. The pioneer rail station of Humboldt will soon be decorated with the flags of the more than 40 nations representing the curent residents.

The city’s newly implemented cultural and strategic plan reflect the values of welcoming and being connected. An art gallery and planned theatre and field house will incorporate facilities for our annual culture days festival, including programs supporting our traditional and contemporary cultures.

A new community development plan reflects the values, spirit, and vision of our growing city, supported by heightened levels of community engagement and input.

The recent population boom has brought greater diversity to the province of Saskatchewan and to Humboldt, along with corresponding jobs that will keep youth here. 






Heather Brooks, ICMA-CM

City Manager

Alamosa, Colorado



Alamosa is a small community (8,828 population) with as much diversity as you can imagine in regard to ethnicity, income, heritage, and education. Thankfully, the city’s leadership and employees are a clear reflection of this diversity.

As an organization, we strive to be as transparent and approachable as possible, and we use all our tools to engage the public in operations and projects. We are also updating Alamosa’s comprehensive plan, and this process intentionally includes significant public input.

With Alamosa’s diversity and differing desires for public services, we absolutely must capture the reflection of Alamosa today and move toward a common vision.

Finally, I believe it takes committed collaboration with our community partners to truly achieve social and cultural energy and vitality.

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