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Going Beyond the Minimum

Thoughts for Creating Truly Inclusive Engagement Plans

As a team, we recently reflected on raising the bar and going beyond the minimum for truly inclusive and accessible projects. More targeted outreach activities such as pop-up meetings, translation, interpretation and providing accommodations for individuals with disabilities are becoming standard practice. But this may still not be enough. Designing projects to be truly inclusive starts with a thoughtful engagement plan and process that includes efforts to know the community and connect with different groups.

At a minimum, plans should be based on an understanding of the area being served, including the demographics (age, income, language, race, ethnicity) of the community and different populations that would be impacted by the project. Engagement plans should consider how teams are going to actively work to address barriers to participation and bring historically marginalized populations into the process.

Spending time in communities by walking the area and talking with local leaders and respected voices at different stages of the project are key in connecting with the right people to create a more inclusive process. An engagement plan that enables diverse perspectives and community groups to participate in projects will lead to valuable insights and better solutions that also address equity impacts.


Randall Road Multimodal Improvements Project

This fall, Metro Strategies Group assisted the Kane County Division of Transportation (KDOT) with public engagement and outreach efforts for its Randall Road Multimodal Improvements Project. In advance of KDOT's first round of public meetings in September, we developed a variety of communications materials. Of note, Metro Strategies Group created a unique, standalone website to share information about the project. The site was updated prior to the public meeting with exhibits and fact sheets to provide the public with as much information as possible to stay informed on the project. The website also provided information on how to stay connected with the project team, as well as instructions on how to provide comments or questions. Last, the site featured a language translation button that allowed visitors to view materials in either English or Spanish. Between the date of the first newspaper advertisement on August 30 and the conclusion of the public comment period on October 20, the project website received 1,352 unique visits and 2,548 page views! Websites are critical tools for connecting with the public in today's digital age and provide an alternative way to connect with people who may not be able to attend in person.

Visit the Randall Road Website

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

December 8, 2023 – MWRD Conceptual Projects Pre-Application 

December 15, 2023 – RTA Access to Transit Program 

December 22, 2023 – IL EPA CEJA EV Charging Round 1 

December 31, 2023 – MWRD Green Infrastructure Partnership Program 

January 2024 – Surface Transportation Program-Local (varying deadlines)  

January 28, 2024 – MWRD Flood Prone Property Acquisition Program 

February 11, 2024 – MWRD Stormwater Partnership Program 

March 1, 2024 – Urban and Community Forestry Grant  


Staff Retreat 2023

As we wrap up 2023, our team gathered to regroup and re-energize at our fall staff retreat. We reflected on the past year and thought about some of our priorities for 2024. We brainstormed to not only build a stronger team, but to build stronger, more inclusive projects. We also took time to learn about the state of transit services in our region and debate the future of how the region/state can create a more sustainable funding structure.  


Metro Strategies Group Welcomes Sam Burns!

We're excited to welcome Sam Burns as our new Planning and research Specialist. Having previously worked and trained as an urban planner, Sam has a variety of experiences working with all levels of government and non-profit agencies. He is passionate about working to create more livable communities through project administration, grant management, and stakeholder engagement. Sam has experience working to leverage local, state, and federal funds to implement community plans and goals.

In his free time, Sam enjoys trying new restaurants and breweries, rooting for the Vikings, running and going on walks with his wife and dog Harvey.

Spread the Word - We’re Hiring!

Metro Strategies Group is seeking a Project Manager - Outreach and Communications to join our versatile team to support the firm’s projects and clients. Key responsibilities include creating funding plans, preparing grant applications, researching best practices, developing surveys, drafting presentations, writing white papers and facilitating meetings. Click here to learn more.


Favorite Fall Recipes

With the cold weather upon us, we wanted to share some of our staff's favorite fall recipes with you and your family.

The Best Classic Chili

Pancetta Mac & Cheese

French's Green Bean Chili

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Spicy Peppered Arugula Salad

Snow White's Apple Dumplings

Sweet & Salty Strawberry Pretzel Salad

The Best Caramel Apple Pie