In the fall of 2017 the City of Decatur kicked off the creation of what will be a roadmap for the future of our community. This Neighborhood Revitalization initiative is a resident driven, committed effort to identify the steps necessary to rebuild, reinforce, revitalize and – in some cases – reimagine Decatur, a no-holds barred honest conversation amongst our Decatur family about where we are and where we want to be. The only rules: be honest and be big and bold in our thoughts and to feel free to think beyond our current boundaries and the definitions that the outside world may have assigned to this community in deciding what we wanted for ourselves.
Meetings were also held with focus groups of Seniors/Disabled on May 1, 2018, June 6, 2018 and August 18, 2018. Seniors at the Decatur Senior Center and local high-rise apartments were asked to fill out surveys about the condition of the City and recommended changes to be made in order to make the community better. Over 50 surveys were collected.
Seniors had concerns about crime, afterschool programs, the condition of sidewalks with the area and parks that were close within walking distance. They wanted a safe place to play with their grandchildren when they visited. They were also concerned about rehabilitation, bust transportation and demolitions.
The Millennial Re-envision plan is a continuation of the Community Revitalization initiative that started in the Fall of 2017, to help in identify the steps to rebuild, reinforce, and revitalize Decatur.
In the first round of community revitalization meetings, millennial voices were not adequately captured, so in the Fall of 2018 a group of Decatur Leadership Institute participants were assigned to the began the task. They started out by creating a Facebook page with information for Millennials residing in Macon County to inform members about events, networking, and as a revitalization survey platform.
On September 24, 2018, the Decatur Leadership group launched an online revitalization survey called Millennial Thoughts and gathered 60 online responses. They went to Millikin University and Richland Community College on October 17, 2018, to talk to students about the survey and gathered approximately 40 surveys.
On November 15, 2018, the group held a happy hour event at Door 4 brewing and invited young professionals in the community and gathered over 20 surveys. The group ended up collecting 123 surveys with data from millennial residents. The top categories of interests for the survey participants were better schools, more police, lower taxes, more government transparency, more low income assistance, and more activities for the community as a whole.