Magazine article Public Management

Palmdale's Powerful Tool: A Community Engagement Success Story

Magazine article Public Management

Palmdale's Powerful Tool: A Community Engagement Success Story

Article excerpt

Articles in PM often address the difficult challenges facing local governments today and how they continue to deliver effective services given reductions in both their revenues and staffing. This story tells how Palmdale, California, is using one powerful tool to address its service needs.

One of the key components of Palmdale's strategic plan for creating a sustainable community is community engagement. Residents, community groups, and businesses are the catalysts to making this type of engagement the powerhouse that it is.

The city realized the energy that its residents have and put that energy to work on October 5, 2013, at a makeover event for one of the most widely used parks in the city, Domenic Massari Park. Community members successfully completed myriad projects, bringing life back into the park and at the same time, contributing to the strategic plan component.

Activating the Community

When I first began to discuss the idea about community partnering and collaborating as a way to accomplish this park's revitalization projects, no one could have imagined the level of enthusiasm that the community would demonstrate. Here is what took place:

* The process began by creating a team that would conceptualize, organize, and plan the event, including promotional and operational aspects. The team worked closely with Palmdale's communications manager on media alerts and press releases.

* Team members took part in a radio broadcast aimed at reaching the community's Hispanic population and spoke about the importance of the event and what it could do for Palmdale.

* The city's website was used, and the city also created flyers for display at the park, along with having public safety officers distribute them to park patrons.

* To engage and entice the business community to support the event, businesses were offered recognition in the winter edition of Palmdale News, a magazine mailed to households every quarter. …

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