The City of Rockville is currently undergoing a unique, broad-based and inclusive public dialogue on its future. The process started in October 2011 with a general session open to the public called the Rockville Summit.
The goals of the Summit were twofold:
- Initiate a communication process among various members of the different sectors of our City—residential, business community, non-profit entities, education and government – focused on our economy, development, culture and quality of life; and
- Set the stage for more comprehensive discussions in small groups on these factors and their impacts on our community over the next 20-25 years that would also inform the City’s requisite Master Plan review.
With a keynote address by Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University on the current economic and demographic base and competitiveness of Rockville, the Summit was a success in attracting numerous stakeholders interested in becoming involved in a deliberate, in-depth public dialogue on the City’s economy and future growth. Put simply, the Summit attracted members of our community interested in across-the-board community collaboration to enhance an attractive, livable and economically viable Rockville.
The Summit identified six working groups:
- Job Growth and Residential Workforce.
- Preservation of Rockville’s Character.
- Education and School Capacity.
- Transportation and Traffic
- City Services and Budget.
Participants representing all of the sectors are currently working in these groups to develop recommendations for the City in each of these areas. The process will achieve another milestone with the coming together of all of the working groups’ members for a second summit (“Rockville Summit II”) in late Fall 2012 for a comprehensive discussion of the working groups’ recommendations and their finalization for and application to an economic and growth roadmap for the future.
The success of the Summit and continuing interest by participants in the working groups indicate a strong desire in our community for a broad-based dialogue on community issues and the direction of our City. These participants embrace the opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders from different sectors of the community, set out their perspectives, and listen to and understand others’ perspectives on various community issues. They all are contributing to this agenda-for-the-future process, a process to identify opportunities and challenges that we as a community will face, responses and resolutions to these opportunities and challenges, and their impacts throughout our community. Open dialogue and inclusiveness remain our driving tenets. Accordingly, our mandate should be to engage in this far-reaching process every person who lives, works or plays in Rockville.
To this end, i.e., to help shape the future of our community, we strongly encourage others to join this process. It is not too late to become involved in the discussions and recommendations in the working groups set out above. The success of this process is stronger with greater participation throughout the community and greater diversity of stakeholders in each working group.
For more information on the Summit and working group process, please contact either Michelle Poche-Flaherty at email@example.com or Linda Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just attend a meeting of the working group of your choice.
Meeting times and locations can be found on the City’s Web site at http://www.rockvillemd.gov/Summit.
This is an ambitious and worthwhile endeavor. Please join us.
Drop by a special meeting of all six working groups from 8 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21 at the Rockville Senior Center.
The author is a former Rockville City Council member.