On September 18, 2012, the Menlo Park City Council approved the proposed Belle Haven Community Visioning Process and authorized the City Manager to select a consultant based on responses to Request for Proposal (RFP) and execute a contract. As part of the RFP process, staff received resident input on the proposal and on the selection of a consultant who was the best qualified to implement an inclusive and dynamic community visioning and capacity building process for the neighborhood. In December, a committee formed of City staff and Belle Haven residents selected MIG, Inc. as the process consultant and in January the consultant was hired and introduced to the Belle Haven residents at the Visioning Process Kick-off meeting.
The work of the consultant will be focused on the initial stage of the visioning process which will result in the development of a strategic plan for the neighborhood and create the groundwork for future community capacity building. This capacity building will include opportunities to develop resident leadership, resident organizing and advocacy, increased capacity of local organizations and other institutional partners, and collective action that would lead to systems change around improved educational and economic outcomes. The result of the City's investment would be a strategic plan that could be built upon to create real and long-lasting change for the neighborhood where residents are able to achieve the big goals that they set for themselves.
Over the long term, such a process would be one whereby residents are able to identify the need to create stronger relationships with one another and have the ability to better access community resources for problem solving on their own. The hope is that the vision will begin to develop residents who are able to identify and remove barriers to neighborhood engagement in addressing important issues such as economic self-sufficiency and educational achievement. The process would eventually, result in the creation of self-determined resident groups who are able to collectively engage with community organizations to leverage their capacity to effect system changes and improve the neighborhood's well-being.
The visioning process will take approximately 6-8 months and is designed to reach the following milestones in 2013: