Earlier, on the front end of creating the draft plan, City staff conducted an extensive community engagement process to learn the community’s priorities for the future of Saint Paul. Staff talked to nearly 2,300 people in 2016, with a focus on reaching diverse communities. Below are the nine priorities we heard were most important to the community. These priorities are woven throughout the Comprehensive Plan.
- Livability, equity and sustainability. When we asked about regional themes established by the Metropolitan Council, you said livability, equity and sustainability are the most important for Saint Paul. Other regional themes we will incorporate into the updated Comprehensive Plan include prosperity and stewardship.
- Parks and open space. Parks and open space, from Como Park to Swede Hollow to the Mississippi River to your local playground, were consistently identified throughout the city as cherished places that we should preserve and enhance.
- Sense of community. Many people identified social connections, diversity, and their neighborhood’s character – whether “vibrant” or “quiet” – as key advantages of living in Saint Paul.
- Public safety. People want to be safe and feel safe in their communities, and to have positive relationships with police officers. Strategic investment and thoughtful design can improve public safety. While this issue goes beyond typical development policies covered in the plan, we will seek to incorporate this deep concern in meaningful ways.
- Road safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian safety at crossings and improved facilities were frequently identified as issues, as were bicycle facility improvements and safety.
- Invest in people. Whether job training or programming at recreation centers (especially for youth), you identified this as an important issue for Saint Paul. Many commented that these investments pay dividends for livability, prosperity, and public safety.
- Jobs. You said we need more and better jobs to allow people to provide for their families and lift up the entire community.
- Quality affordable housing. You said we need more affordable housing, and that existing housing must be well-maintained.
- Saint Paul is full of opportunity sites. The range of “places with potential” identified was astounding, including major projects like Snelling-Midway (soccer stadium area) and the Ford site, large geographies like “the East Side,” “the Green Line” or “the riverfront,” commercial corridors like White Bear Avenue or Selby Avenue, and individual sites throughout the city. You said there are gems throughout the city, ready for (re)discovery and investment.