The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 23, 2014

Planning for the future

By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — The city of Fulton is looking at potential programs for developing the community.

The Fulton City Council listened to a presentation Monday on a Western Illinois University-based program which has helped Illinois communities develop detailed project plans.

MAPPING Manager Gisele Hamm visited the council Monday, at the request of City Administrator Ed Cannon and Alderman Barb Mask. Mask had heard about the program through her son, who worked with it in Savanna, Ill., where the program has been used in 2003 and 2013.

“Fulton can benefit from a strategic plan and a strategic planning session,” Cannon said Wednesday.

MAPPING, which stands for Management And Planning Programs Involving Non-metropolitan Groups, started in 1991 at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, located at the WIU campus in Macomb, Ill. Supported by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the program is a strategic visioning, planning and doing process where local residents create an action plan “for creating the community they envision.” Since its creation, the program has visited more than 130 communities in more than 60 counties.

MAPPING focuses on volunteers being at the heart of community change, building upon assets rather than focusing on problems and the importance of structured planning. Hamm emphasized the importance of having a diverse group of community volunteers committed to the project and determined to follow it through to the end.

“You don’t just talk about doing things, you get them done,” Hamm said.

Once the program begins in a community, a local steering committee is formed and meetings are held to identify where a community is, where it wants to be, how to get there and making it happen. Once detailed work plans are developed for the projects, it is brought to a town meeting.

“And we will continue to be here for your community as long as you wish,” Hamm said.

While MAPPING is funded through the DCEO, a community using it is charged a fee based on its population, distance from Macomb and median household income. Hamm figured Fulton’s cost to be $3,648.96. Many communities seeks sponsorships or hold fundraisers to collect the amount.

City Attorney Bill Shirk witnessed the MAPPING program when it was utilized in Morrison, Ill., in 2007. He said it could fit well with Fulton.

“With your volunteer spirit, I think Fulton would be an ideal spot for it,” Shirk said.

The council thanked Hamm for her presentation. Cannon plans to look into other similar programs for the city to consider as well.

“There are different methods of strategic planning,” Cannon said. “This is simply one method.”