River Falls seeks community engagement on plan updates

Posted 2/8/22

New website offers different ways to interact RIVER FALLS – The River Falls Comprehensive Plan is undergoing an update alongside two other city plans for Bike and Pedestrian and Outdoor Recreation. …

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River Falls seeks community engagement on plan updates


New website offers different ways to interact

RIVER FALLS – The River Falls Comprehensive Plan is undergoing an update alongside two other city plans for Bike and Pedestrian and Outdoor Recreation. The City of River Falls is encouraging community input and feedback during the writing and updating process.

The city has created a website that allows for River Falls residents to register and follow along with the progress of the updates and creation of these three plans. The website “engagerf.org” also contains information about the plans.

The Comprehensive Plan is something that is usually updated every 10-15 years; the current plan was written in 2005, so it is time for a routine update, said Community Development Director Amy Peterson.

“So typically, it is recommended the plans are updated every ten or so years and ours is from 2005, so it is a little bit overdue and time for an update and this will help solidify the goals for this community's future,” Peterson said.

For this Comprehensive Plan to be updated through the lens of the community, the city has developed ways for residents to stay involved in the process. Usually, open meetings are held and people within the community can attend and give their input.

With the new website in place, the community can do this from home; having the ability to provide input and feedback virtually allows the process to be more inclusive, with multiple voices.

“This website is set up to allow us to do the same kinds of information gathering that we would do at a public meeting and we can do it online,” said Peterson.

The website is different from what the city has done in the past when it comes to community feedback and input for updating comprehensive plans.

“Typically we would’ve based this on mostly in-person meetings over the course of a year or so,” Peterson said. “Large inperson education is what we usually would do but COVID has sent us in a different direction.

“As well as wanting to engage the public in a different way and wanting to be able to hopefully get more and different engagement, not everyone is able to come to a public meeting and not everyone wants to.”

Aside from the online platform, the city will be hosting an open house at the River Falls Public Library (140 Union St.) from 2-7 p.m. Feb. 24 and will be another way for the community to talk with city staff and consultants working on the three plans (Comprehensive, Outdoor Recreation and Bike & Pedestrian) “People can stop in and talk to the consultants and our staff and can talk with us about questions as well as stop at stations to give input and this is another way to give feedback beside the engagerf website,” said Peterson.


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Throughout this process, the website for “Focus River Falls” will continue to remain open and available for resident registration. This way, if anyone wants to join in on the conversation at any point they are able to. The city also has bigger plans for this online platform during the planning process.

Peterson described some of the few features the website will eventually have as the process moves along and evolves.

“As we get further along in the process the website will have surveys, forums and ways that folks can chat back and forth with staff or with other community members briefly.

“It will also have a mapping component where you can go in and if our question is ‘where are there disconnects in our sidewalk infrastructure?’ people will be able to pop a pin on the map and write a comment about what needs improvement,” Peterson said. “We are hopeful that this will help and change throughout the process.”

The Comprehensive Plan will be updated with more of an emphasis on the overview of improvements within the city; it does not usually list specific projects but focuses on future goals.

“The Comprehensive Plan is really a higher-level policy document so it sets the goals for where the community wants to be,” said Peterson.

The other two plans regarding Outdoor Recreation and Bike and Pedestrian resources will include more detailed project plans once the ideas are in place. These two plans are there to help the city with planning around the needs of the community and the website will allow for the community to give their input in these areas as well.

“The other plans that we are working on at the same time, those are going to be more specific and will lay out the specific projects in those areas,” Peterson said.

For more information about these three plans and ways to become more involved, visit engagerf.org. The website contains a helpful video as well as descriptions for each plan and the correlating city faculty and staff who are working on these projects.

For any further questions, contact the Community Development Director Amy Peterson at 715-426-3425 or [email protected] org