The Johnson County Livable Community (JCLC) Strategic Plan is a first attempt at community planning in response to an aging population. Incorporating just twelve towns, nearly 40 percent of Johnson County’s current residents will be age 55+ by 2030. This age plan, developed by the Members of the Livable Community for Successful Aging Policy Board, focuses on developing its organizational infrastructure over the next three years. The goal is to make Johnson County a “livable community” by bringing together various components (transportation and mobility, health services, housing, economic development, public safety and community engagement opportunities) to foster personal empowerment along with community involvement.
The action plan revolves around four goals, all focusing on the development of the organizational infrastructure within the Board itself. Beyond determining direction, establishing infrastructure that helps the planning process can be a powerful first step.
Other plan highlights include:
- Planning for an older demographic often means identifying pre-existing partnerships or efforts. Goal one for JCLC is to identify existing partnerships and foster new partnerships with other organizations. One action step toward this goal is the creation of a “Speaker’s Bureau of persons willing to make contact with new groups” (page 8).
- The second goal focuses on the “organizational capacity of the Policy board for outreach and information dissemination” (page 9). This includes the formation and communication of JCLC as a brand, with accompanying website and marketing materials. Remaining goals focus on possible funding sources, as well as, establishing reporting procedures.
How to Use
The Johnson County Strategic Plan reflects community planning at its earliest stages. Community planners struggling with the question, “where should we begin and how?” should note JCLC’s approach. Johnson County has laudably determined to focus on infrastructure. When formulating strategy, especially at the regional level, consider first pooling and listing existing partnerships and resources prior to the development of a strategic plan. This will save time and effort while providing a sharper lens through which to develop next steps. It may also help inform branding efforts. Second, model other regional plans as a starting point. Many current regional plans also function as communication pieces for enlisting the help of others, which is Johnson County’s first goal.