Wow! We had a great workshop. That probably sounds like an oxymoron to people that live their lives at meetings. Planners say about 100 people attended. The youngest was about 14. She wouldn't let her dad leave after some of the fun discussion got going. The room was full and staff were putting up extra chairs and tables and just about ran out of handouts (a bureaucrat's dream.) Along with the citizens from the St. Cloud Metro Area there were participants from Todd County, Wright County, Sherburne County, Benton, Stearns County and McLeod County, and many more I couldn't identify.
People showed up simply because they wanted the State to know what they wanted done with their Park & Trail Legacy sales tax money. As people left the Mississippi Room at the St. Cloud Library there were many comments about "how much fun that was." Folks really felt like they had meaningful input - that they were listened to and their comments would be carried to the Legislature at the end of the planning project.
Having tables of eight talk about the questions in the survey but still being able to vote with the little "clicker" allowed them to blend ideas but still express their individual opinions. And wasn't it cool that after everyone voted on individual questions that the results of the group votes were displayed on the overhead screen. That was some dandy technology use.
I could go on for pages on how proud I was of the turnout, the pre-workshop publicity by the Times, WJON and other media outlets, and the quality of the conversation. Well done Central Minnesota.