Darbo-Worthington Community Listening Session
City, County staff brainstorm with community
by A. David Dahmer
It was a packed house on the evening of March 5th as community members, politicians, and families came together for a Darbo-Worthington Community Listening Session.
The Meet & Greet was held in order to provide an opportunity for residents to get to know each other and share their input on the attributes and challenges they face in their neighborhood. Folks from the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood could freely chat with Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and their respective staffs, along with several community organizations.
“The last time I came to a community meeting here like this we had about 6 or 8 staff people from the city and the county and [only] 3 neighborhood residents,” Soglin told the crowd. “Wow!”
The event was also a chance to meet people from the Darbo-Worthington Neighborhood Resource Team, Joining Forces for Families, Worthington Park Neighborhood Association, the Goodman Community Center, UW-Extension, Mentoring Positives, Women of Worthington and more.
We're out here to listen to each other today,” said Alderperson Marsha Rummel. “As a City representative and on behalf of the County representatives here, we want to hear what you have to say and to apply it to our decisions. There are millions of dollars of budget decisions that we will be making and it's good to hear things from the ground up and find out what you really need and want and how we can provide better services.”
Food was catered from RP's Pasta, Daisy Cafe, and Glass Nickel Pizza. Mentoring Positives youth volunteers helped with the set-up, dinner service, and clean-up.·
Jeffrey Lewis and Jeremiah Jackson from the UW-Extension provided an overview of the night's main activity which was brainstorming ideas.
“We're here together to have conversation around your neighborhood; things you like about your neighborhood and challenges that you face and things that you would like to change in the future to help inform people from the City and the County,” Lewis said. “It's wonderful to see you all here today and I applaud this great turnout to participate in this really important conversation.
“I need your help. We need to talk about the logistics of how we are going to shift from where we are now to where we want to go,” he added.
Mentoring Positives youth, Women of Worthington, and the Neighborhood Resource Team spread out to various tables and three discussions questions were talked about. 1)Name some positive things you have experienced in your neighborhood. 2) What are the challenges that you are facing based upon your experiences? 3)If you were to think about 50 years from now, what would the positive changes you would like to see on all levels?
They gathered the input as NRT staff hung up flip-chart paper around the room organized by question and had a gallery walk. Participants placed star stickers to indicate agreement with the things they felt were most significant or important for each of the questions. Everyone walked around to see what other groups came up with and added their stickers.
“It was exciting to see people at this event. It was what we hoped for,” said Fabiola Hamdan, Dane County Community Senior SocialWorker for Joining Forces For Families. “We had two professional facilitators that are working in putting together a report that will be used to apply for grants and we will see how we can partner between agencies and work together for the well-being of this neighborhood. We would like to thank the Salvation Army for the use of the space and Bunky’s Café, RP’s Pasta, Glass Nickel Pizza, and Daisy Café for the donation of delicious food.”·