Update on Engagement for the Comprehensive Plan and Transit Plan

Updates on Engagement for the Comprehensive and Transit Plan

The Planning and Transit teams are working together to begin engaging the Durham Community around draft goals and objectives for two important plans – the Transit Plan and the Comprehensive Plan.

Engagement Ambassadors Update 

The Transit Team and the Comprehensive Plan Team are working with Aidil Ortiz, an engagement consultant for the Transit Plan, to manage the Engagement Ambassador program. Thirty-six candidates have been selected and will be offered stipends for their participation in training and collection of input from residents. Ambassadors will host physically-distanced or remote engagement events with traditionally underrepresented and underserved residents to gather input about the Transit Plan and Comprehensive Plan goals and objectives. Engagement Ambassadors are focused on reaching residents who live in Durham Housing Authority properties, residents of Bahama, Rougemont, or other rural areas of northern Durham County, youth, seniors, people with disabilities, people who ride the bus, Hispanic and Latino residents, people who are or have been justice involved, people who have experienced housing insecurity, and people with low income or low wealth.   

For the Comprehensive Plan, Engagement Ambassadors will focus on reviewing the housing-related objectives during these sessions since it was the most mentioned topic during the Fall 2019 Listening and Learning phase of engagement. Additionally, these sessions include questions to determine community priorities for funding in the upcoming cycle of Participatory Budgeting. Engagement Ambassador sessions for this phase will be completed by the end of towards mid-December. 

Planning staff is planning to continue working with Aidil Ortiz beginning in December to have Ambassadors engage residents around additional Comprehensive Plan draft objectives and is currently working on that contract. Stay tuned for another recruitment notice! 

Social PinPoint Coming Soon 

Over the summer, the Planning Department participated in a digital engagement tool review process headed by Participatory Budget (PB) staff. Through this process, Planning staff worked with PB and other partner departments and determined that Social PinPoint is the best option for our near term and long-term needs in digital engagement for a variety of projectsWe are currently working through the procurement process in the hopes of having this tool up and running as soon as possible. We plan to usSocial PinPoint to share draft goals and objectiveby creating broad engagement opportunities to supplement the work with Engagement Ambassadors. Specifically, the online engagement will include a series of surveys by topic groups and a creative opportunity where residents can vision how the objectives could be realized in Durham by uploading pictures and drawings, react, and discuss together in an online environment. 

Participatory Budgeting 2021 announcement

Participatory Budgeting is a process that allows residents to directly decide how to spend part of the public budget. Durham’s second round of Participatory Budgeting will look quite a bit different in an effort to respond to community needs stemming from COVID-19.

During the first cycle, $2.4 million was spent on one-time projects in each of the city’s three wards. During this second cycle, $1 million in grant funding will go to nonprofits and community organizations who are directly serving residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing issues contributing to racial, economic, and social injustices in Durham. Grant awards will be up to $50,000. 

An online survey will be conducted later this year in order to identify resident priorities. Those priorities will then be shared with the community. Nonprofit and community organizations will then be encouraged to submit proposals that directly address the needs identified through the online resident survey. The public vote to determine grant recipients will take place in the spring, and funds will be distributed in the 2021 Fiscal Year. 

For more information and to take the online survey, visit pbdurham.org, and follow the initiative on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

City Council, Board of County Commissioners, and Planning Commission Updates 

Recently, Planning Staff presented a project update to City Council Work Session, Board of County Commissioners Work session and Planning Commission Retreat. Check out the video recordings: 

Transit Team Staff are presenting updates to elected boards in the upcoming months: 

  • Virtual DCHC MPO Board meeting, December 9, 2020 (see dchcmpo.org for more information)
  • Virtual Durham City Council Work Session, December 10, 2020
  • Virtual Durham County Commissioners Meeting, January 11, 2020