Press Releases

4/5/18 - FOCUS GROUPS LAUNCH AS FIRST STEP IN PROJECT WICHITA

Vision process begins with listening

WICHITA - “Any group, anywhere, anytime” can share their thoughts about the future of Wichita and the region by discussing five questions and sharing their answers. Have a book club, bowling team or Bunco group? Have a group of friends or coworkers who care about where Wichita and the region should go? Project Wichita features multiple ways to get involved with a focus group as the first official listening tactic in the community engagement process.

According to Misty Bruckner, Director of Wichita State University (WSU) Public Policy and Management Center, multiple options for focus groups allow an increased ability to reach all audiences and communities as part of the Project Wichita community engagement process.

“Focus groups will provide an opportunity for any group, anywhere at any time to get involved in the process. Our goal is to seek multi-generational participation from high school students to retirees,” said Bruckner.

The recently announced Project Wichita community engagement process has three steps: Listen, Focus and Share. As part of the “Listen” step, two types of focus groups are beginning and will be underway in April and May.

DIY Focus Groups
Anyone can host a non-traditional “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) focus group by visiting the Project Wichita website at www.projectwichita.org to download the questions, host their group event and then send their collective input online to WSU’s Public Policy and Management Center to include as a part of the Project Wichita vision direction.

WSU and Volunteer-led Focus Groups
In addition, the WSU team and Project Wichita volunteers are facilitating a variety of focus groups with a wide range of ages and backgrounds throughout the community and region including with non-profits, community organizations, schools and businesses. Those who are interested in volunteering (helping host or facilitate multiple focus groups) may attend training in person at Wichita State University:

April 17, 12:00 -1:00 p.m. Room 138 Wichita State Metroplex

April 18, 4:00-5:00 p.m. Room 138 Wichita State Metroplex

Please RSVP online at  www.projectwichita.org

Focus groups will be conducted across the region to gather broad ideas and feedback on what is important to the community. Based on the key themes and topics identified by the focus groups, WSU will create an online survey to be shared with the regional community asking for opinions and priorities on those topics.

Community members who would like to host an individual focus group with their friends, coworkers or interest group, can find information and simple instructions at www.projectwichita.org

Organizations interested in the overall listening process may contact Evan Rosell at evan@projectwichita.org.

For more information and the latest updates on Project Wichita’s progress, go to www.projectwichita.org and follow Project Wichita on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Media:  For more information about Project Wichita or to schedule media interviews, contact Cara Kliewer at 316-644-1269 or carakliewer@gmail.com.

3/28/18 - project wichita process announced

First phase of community listening begins this week

WICHITA – What’s the one best feature of the Wichita region? What is your big dream for the Wichita region in 10 years? These are some of the questions the community will share their thoughts on as a part of the Project Wichita listening process starting this week.

Inclusive Process
Volunteers wanted the regional 10-year vision and action plan Project Wichita process to include big discussions from as many people as possible. So Wichita State University’s (WSU) Public Policy and Management Center team built a custom process for gathering input across the region. The process includes focus groups with individuals and organizations, gathering feedback at diverse community events, online surveys and robust social media engagement.

Over the next few months the Project Wichita process will feature three main steps: Listen, Focus and Share

Listen – Spring/Summer 2018
Host focus groups, community listening events, launch online survey, social media

During the Listen phase of the process, WSU will conduct traditional and non-traditional focus groups across the region gathering broad ideas and feedback on what is important to the community. Based on the key themes and topics identified by the focus groups, WSU will then create an online survey to be shared with the regional community asking for opinions and priorities on those topics.

According to Misty Bruckner, Director WSU Public Policy and Management Center, this step in the process is what makes Project Wichita community engagement different than previous efforts. This listening process will provide an opportunity for any group, anywhere, at any time to get involved.

More details on community focus groups and how the public can get involved will be available next week.

Focus  - Summer 2018
Research existing data and plans, conduct interviews

During the Focus phase of the process research and community findings will be analyzed for trends and patterns. Those findings will be discussed by the Vision Team – a group charged with shepherding the Project Wichita plan – in order to build work teams. These work teams will identify and review priorities driven by community feedback and will work with subject experts and those affected to help build an action plan.

Share - Fall 2018
Report community vision, priorities and action plan

During the Share phase of the process, WSU and the Vision Team will share final results and recommendations with the community including regional vision and priorities. The estimated timeline for the report is late Fall 2018. In addition to a regional vision, the community engagement process will produce an action plan focused on the next 10 years.

The Project Wichita community engagement process is funded and shepherded by organizations and businesses. More than 70 organizations have signed on to support the regional effort. Included are small and large employers, non-profit organizations, civic and regional groups and community organizations. Each organization has representation on the Vision Team to shepherd the process and ensure robust community engagement and involvement.

“This process is designed just for us based on our goals of extensive listening. We’re especially excited about the multiple ways we plan to go deep into groups within our communities,” said Juston White, Co-chair of Project Wichita and Executive Director at Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.

“Through a lot of good, fast teamwork, we’re going to reach new audiences through social media. Between that and the online survey and focus groups, we want to reach all audiences, including those who may not have had a voice in the listening process before,” said Debbie Gann, Co-chair of Project Wichita and Vice President Communications & Public Affairs at Spirit AeroSystems. 

Organizations interested in the overall listening process or joining the Vision Team may contact Evan Rosell at evan@projectwichita.org. Rosell is Vice President of Projects at the Greater Wichita Partnership and is helping to coordinate the Project Wichita effort.

For more information and the latest updates on Project Wichita’s progress, go to www.projectwichita.org and follow Project Wichita on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Media:  For more information about Project Wichita or to schedule media interviews, contact Cara Kliewer at 316-644-1269 or carakliewer@gmail.com.

3/19/18 - Group to guide project wichita vision process announced

Area organizations step forward to help shepherd a robust community engagement

WICHITA – The new community vision process, Project Wichita, is set to launch to the public this month with more than 65 organizations and businesses supporting the effort. The initiative was announced in February and in the few weeks following small and large businesses, civic and regional organizations, non-profits and community groups came forward to help fund the process and shepherd the community engagement.  

The funds raised will be used for implementation and by Wichita State University’s (WSU) Public Policy and Management Center to develop and implement an engagement process that will reach as many people and groups as possible to provide the input needed to create a vision.  The key outcomes of the Project Wichita community engagement process are a collective 10-year vision and an action plan to achieve it.

“The positive response has been overwhelming,” said Scott Schwindaman, Co-chair of Project Wichita and President & CEO at Lubrication Engineers. “People and community groups have embraced that this is the right time for a new vision--one that will be defined by as many people, organizations, businesses and groups as we can reach through this process. It will take all of us working together to ensure all voices are heard.”

“We are excited WSU is working on a plan to involve new and innovative ideas along with traditional listening processes. We want to maximize opportunities for individual voices to be heard and make sure we have all voices at the table,” said Juston White, Co-chair of Project Wichita and Executive Director at Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.

Each of these organizations and businesses who have stepped forward and committed to support the process will have representation on a coalition called the Vision Team.

The Vision Team is made up of representatives from small and large businesses, non-profit organizations, civic and regional organizations and community groups. Scholarships have been made available through the generosity of many businesses allowing for a dynamic range of voices represented within the Vision Team.

The Project Wichita Vision Team has three primary objectives:

  • Fund/support the process of community engagement
  • Protect the integrity of the process and ensure all voices represented
  • Commit volunteer time to develop an actionable plan to achieve the vision

The co-chairs said that other organizations are still being added to the Vision Team.  Aaron Bastian, Co-chair of Project Wichita and President at Fidelity Bank, said, “More and more we’re hearing from folks who want to help shape the future of our community, and we’re determined to find a seat at the table for everyone. It’s imperative that we engage the entire community and financial support and time commitment will make that happen.”

“There is still a need for funding to help the process reach as many people as possible and to help with early support of action plans identified for Project Wichita,” said Debbie Gann, Project Wichita Co-chair and Vice President Communications & Public Affairs at Spirit AeroSystems.

Co-chairs said the full engagement process and first listening phase would be announced and launched to the public in the coming weeks after Vision Team consultation.

Organizations interested in joining the Vision Team or overall listening process may contact Evan Rosell at evan@projectwichita.org. Rosell is Vice President of Projects at the Greater Wichita Partnership and is helping to coordinate the Project Wichita effort.

 

PROJECT WICHITA VISION TEAM AS OF MARCH 16:

A.G. Hospitality Services
All Metal Recycling
Allen Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.
Apples & Arrows
Arts Council
Bombardier
Bothner & Bradley
Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas
Butler Community College
Cargill
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Wichita
Chamber Music at the Barn
City of El Dorado
City of Newton
City of Wichita
Commerce Bank
Cornejo & Sons  
Cox Communications
Cox Machine
Create Campaign, Inc.
Eby Construction
Emprise Bank
Equity Bank
Exploration Place
Fidelity Bank
Friends University
Gardner Design
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland
Greater Wichita Ministerial League
Greater Wichita Partnership
Greater Wichita YMCA
Hall’s Culligan Water/PrairieFire Coffee Roasters
High Touch Technologies
Hope Community Church
Hutton Construction
IMA Financial Group, Inc.
INTRUST Bank
Kansas Health Foundation
Kansas Small Business Development Center
Koch Industries
Leadership Wichita
Lubrication Engineers
Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law
Meritrust
Music Theatre Wichita
NAACP
Newman University
REAP (Regional Economic Area Partnership) of South Central Kansas
Rocking M Media
Sasnak Management Corporation
Sedgwick County Zoo
Senseney Music, Inc.
Spirit AeroSystems Inc.
Star Lumber
Textron Aviation
Trinity Academy
United Way of the Plains
USD 259 Wichita Public Schools
USD 266 Maize Public Schools
USD 385 Andover Public Schools
Visit Wichita
Westar Energy
Wichita Community Foundation
Wichita Festivals
Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
Wichita State University
Wichita Symphony Orchestra
WSU Tech

2/1/18 - Project Wichita Announced Today

Community and regional vision process planned

WICHITA – What’s your vision for our community’s future? What’s your neighbor’s?  What’s our overall vision? Those are the questions a community group will be asking the public in the coming months. Today, a new community vision process for Wichita was announced – Project Wichita.

In recent years, the region and Wichita have celebrated some big wins and increasing pride. This positive momentum has driven a significant question for many in the area, “What’s next for our community?”

Four co-chairs have stepped up to lead the Project Wichita process, which will be developed over the next month with plans to focus on both traditional and non-traditional public listening and community engagement. Specifics will be determined in the following weeks with input from a steering committee.

Co-chairs are Aaron Bastian, President at Fidelity Bank, Debbie Gann, Vice President Communications & Public Affairs at Spirit AeroSystems, Scott Schwindaman, President & CEO at Lubrication Engineers and Juston White, Executive Director at Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.

“We want to focus on a process that maximizes the opportunities for all individual voices to be heard and to reach deep into the community,” said Bastian. “Working together we’re going to develop the way we do that over the next few weeks.

White added, “Project Wichita is coming from people who recognized this was the right time and opportunity to ask ourselves, ‘what’s next for our community and our region?’ And we wanted to share now in the initial development phase so that everyone who wants to participate can jump on board early.”  

There will be multiple ways for individuals to be involved. People may visit www.projectwichita.org for more information in the coming weeks and months on the process.

The community listening process will be funded and shepherded by a steering council of organizations and businesses that choose to be involved. About 20 organizations were approached in the last few weeks to determine initial interest. Those included small and large employers, non-profit organizations and community groups who have committed or expressed interest in funding.

“Once we realized how the community rallied around this project and how quickly groups were signing on to participate in and fund it, we wanted to announce this effort so we could continue discussing ideas with more organizations,” said Bastian. Organizations can request more information at www.projectwichita.org.

The process will be facilitated by Wichita State University Public Policy and Management Center, along with volunteers from the steering council and other interested citizens. The listening process will be designed and shared with the public in the next few weeks.

“It’s our time to come together and chart our own path, and we want organizations from throughout the region to participate and help shape the Project Wichita process to make it fit us,” said Gann. “It’s clear that there are plenty of ideas and lots of energy. We can’t wait to listen and engage.”

In addition to a regional vision, the process will produce an action plan focused on the next 10 years. As part of the larger process, the WSU Public Policy group will also gather planned community engagement about Century II. Mayor Jeff Longwell is also naming a steering council to help focus on the community input for Century II.

“We’ve had a lot of positive momentum in the last couple of years with new jobs, development and growing community pride,” Schwindaman said. “With that momentum also comes more questions and opportunities for us to address and make sure that we as a community establish a vision for this generation and those to come.”

According to Misty Bruckner of the WSU Public Policy and Management Center, the Project Wichita process will most likely include traditional online surveys, focus groups and town hall meetings along with engaging online and social media components with the intent to have participation from every generation from high school students to retirees.

Bastian said, “Our community is ready. Project Wichita began as an idea a few weeks ago, and we have already secured commitments of over $300,000 with about 75 percent of those commitments from private funding. We must continue to move forward.”

As the Project Wichita process develops, updates will be shared with people and the news media through a new website at www.projectwichita.org, news releases and social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

Media:  For more information about Project Wichita or to schedule media interviews, contact Cara Kliewer at carakliewer@gmail.com.