The Parks & Recreation Department of Asheville, NC successfully engaged in a virtual strategic planning process during the pandemic. The results were a strategic plan that participants fully own and are accountable to, measurable quarterly accomplishments, and a virtual synopsis of their integrated, cohesive plan.
Asheville, a city of approximately 95,000 people in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture. The Parks & Recreation Department, consisting of 99 employees, oversees 170 public spaces, including athletic fields, neighborhood parks, community centers, a zoo, a splash pad and a pool, all with a budget of $10.9M. The department had shifted programming to accommodate new needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also due to the pandemic, the department’s staff were abiding by state and local regulations and challenged with what services and operations needed to look like, yet wanted to engage in a strategic planning process. Vital Clarity, a local consulting firm, had worked with the city and its department in the past but needed assistance to deliver the process virtually. HueLife became an invaluable, collaborative partner that helped design and deliver a robust and engaging virtual experience. More specifically, the design preserved the values of inclusive participation and profound respect found in typical face-to-face planning sessions Vital Clarity was accustomed to providing.
City of Asheville, NC Parks & Recreation department used/is using a virtual strategic planning process to address this/these challenge(s).