Creating A Supportive Civic Infrastructure

Brevard TomorrowBrevard Tomorrow is a community-driven initiative focused on creating a ‘preferred future’ for Brevard County. This task requires diverse groups and people from around the county to come together to collaborate, communicate and proactively carry out initiatives that will protect and enhance the quality of life for all our residents.

Brevard Tomorrow is working to create a community that prides itself on its educational and workforce opportunities, strong economy, well-planned and sustainable development and redevelopment, and responsive government.
One of the primary areas of focus in the Brevard Tomorrow strategic plan is to create a sound civic infrastructure, one that encourages community understanding, cooperation and involvement in those areas that impact our quality of life.

The increase in community involvement is of great importance to Brevard County in being able to move forward and achieve its stated “preferred future.” General citizen apathy has been identified as a major issue in the Brevard Tomorrow process and is considered as a barrier to positive change in the County.

One theme that is continuously raised is that Brevard County lacks an identity. This has led to residents being less vested in the County as a whole, and, instead, focusing solely upon their local community. With more than 80% of the growth over the last decade due to in-migration versus natural change, Brevard County also has to confront the issue of getting non-natives involved and willing to invest in the community. Similarly, with the County’s average age continuing to increase as a result of the influx of older individuals, young people in Brevard County currently view their opportunities to become involved in the community as very limited.

The BT Civic Infrastructure project team is working to address those issues and has identified two key goals that, when accomplished in their entirety, would have the most positive impact:

Goal #1 – Increase citizen involvement and pride throughout the County.

Create an image and identity for Brevard County.
A unified image, with which the public can identify, increases community pride and ownership, and bolsters economic and tourism development opportunities.

Facilitate and celebrate volunteerism and community service.
One of the most critical foundations of strong communities is a high level of resident involvement in volunteer activities. While there has been a decline in volunteerism nationwide, there does appear to be a strong ethic of volunteerism in the County.

Continue efforts to recognize the cultural diversity of the community.
Planned, countywide activities and events that recognize different parts of the community are important in fostering a positive image of the County among residents.

Educate citizens and encouraging community involvement.
Educating the public about issues and their potential impact is a key component to increasing community involvement at all levels. Through the Brevard Tomorrow Citizen’s Academy, developed in cooperation with the United Way of Brevard residents learn about the history of Brevard, its many unique assets, and how their local and county governments operate. If the community knows it roots, appreciates what it has, and understands how their tax dollars are put to work, the policy-making process, and how decisions influence their quality of life, they are more likely to get involved in government and community affairs.

Educate politicians and political candidates about issues.
Elected officials and potential candidates need to hear from the public about issues that are important to them. These educational efforts could improve the quantity and quality of people who run for political office.

Continue and expand neighborhood building and engagement processes.
Placing a priority on rebuilding and strengthening neighborhoods is another avenue through which greater community involvement and pride can be established.

Brevard Tomorrow - Civic InfrastructureGoal #2 – Increase opportunities for inter- and intra-generational, multi-income, and multi-racial interactions.

Continue to expand opportunities for intergenerational contact.
Intergenerational programming needs to be improved and expanded to engage the youth and senior populations with one another. The United Way, Children’s Services Council, Brevard Cultural Alliance other agencies are currently reviewing strategies to improve intergenerational programs. Establishing a resource bank to match seniors and youths in educational, cultural and community projects will serve to better connect these population groups.

Expand and advertise recreational and cultural programs for youths and young adults.
There is a lack of appropriate activities that interest youths and young adults. Brevard Tomorrow supports community initiatives to increase funding for future parks, athletics, and recreational facilities, entertainment and cultural venues for young adults, including those in their late teens and early twenties and creative approaches, such as the establishment of an entertainment district.

Create a Young Professionals Organization.
The Young Professionals of Brevard was established to enable those between the ages of 21 and 40 to meet, network, be social, and engage in similar interests and activities. YPB also serve as a link to the rest of the community, providing young professionals with opportunities to serve their community through volunteer involvement in several nonprofit organizations.

Develop opportunities to engage and involve individuals from all different backgrounds in both formal and informal venues. Opportunities to celebrate the County’s ethnic and cultural diversity would be highly beneficial in breaking down stereotypes and perceived barriers.

Continue to increase opportunities to engage older individuals in the community.
It is extremely important to continue to engage senior residents in the community because of the resources, knowledge, and experience they bring. The establishment of a Senior Leadership Brevard Program, the implementation of a Senior Mentoring Program, a centralized volunteer information clearinghouse, and programs for lifelong learning are all in various stages of development.

Civic Infrastructure is just one of the components of the Brevard Tomorrow strategic plan. Other areas include: Economy; Education and Workforce; Governance; and Land Use and Growth. Each has a project team, made up of a cross-section of community members that work to address the challenges in these areas and develop plans and actions that will take us in the direction we want to go.

“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”
-Anthony D’Angelo

If you are interested in making a difference and having a say in the future of your community, we’d like you to join the Brevard Tomorrow community journey. For more information, contact Brevard Tomorrow at 321-632-8222 or email geo@brevardtomorrow.com

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