IFA Water Study
The Indiana Finance Authority initiated the Central Indiana Water Study to provide a better understanding of the supply and demand of water resource sin the Central Indiana region. The effort will ultimately provide a data-driven foundation for collaborative decision making on shared water needs, challenges, and opportunities. Empower Results served as the outreach and education arm of a diverse team of scientists and agency representatives, producing a range of products to help explain the study to the public and decision makers who will most benefit from understanding the study’s results and recommendations.
- Developed project purpose statement and fact sheets
- Developed project FAQ set to accompany reports on the website
- In process of developing three video assets to present the project to different audiences, including the public and elected officials
Wabash River Greenway
The Wabash River Greenway Master Plan proposes a 90-mile trail across five counties in the Wabash River valley in Indiana. Designed as a “destination trail”, the Wabash River Greenway aims to be a landmark project for the region, creating connections between communities, supporting quality of life improvements, providing access to the river, and more.
Empower Results assisted the project team across a variety of services. Our role in the project included brand guide and survey development, stakeholder identification and meeting organization, (COVID-friendly) public input activity design, online polling and interaction tools, public meeting facilitation, and video storyboarding.
- Provided a full range of public input consultation
- Assisted in survey design and implementation
- Developed COVID-friendly public input strategies across the five-county project area
- Helped organize and facilitate online meetings with elected officials and stakeholder groups
- Assisted in the development of a project brand guide
- Created storyboard outline for project marketing video
Castleton Revitalization Master Plan
Empower Results led the public outreach and stakeholder involvement process for the Castleton Revitalization Master Plan. Leadership tasks included organizing, developing activities for, and participating in a series of stakeholder meetings in order to establish a baseline set of project outcomes ranging from the project vision to final features. The Empower Results team organized and assisted in three public workshops attended by more than 200 individuals, each utilizing multiple input strategies. Several external focus group meetings were held to acquire input from specific demographics, commercial organizations, adjacent planning entities, major employers, and local developers.
- Project website
- Series of online surveys directed toward specific user types (area visitors, employers, employees, residents)
- Input was aggregated and shared with other team members and the City to develop a realistic yet visionary plan, and local leadership was cultivated to begin implementation
Our team assisted the Indianapolis Cultural Trail with outreach and publicity surrounding the new Pacers Bikeshare Program. We assisted with numerous public meetings, which included developing posters and surveys to determine ideal locations for Bikeshare stations. Once the Bikeshare Program launched, we identified and researched four target audiences to determine the best outreach venues for each. These included regular newsletters, e-blasts, monthly meeting dates, key seminars, and other important outreach opportunities where people lived and worked. We then assisted the client with surveying three different types of users – 24-hour pass holders, Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA) residents, and annual pass holders. We compiled the survey responses into a final report to aid the Cultural Trail in future outreach and education about the Pacers Bikeshare Program and to cultivate more participation and membership.
- Identified Key audiences like to participate in bikeshare as well as cultivated atypical audiences
- Researched and developed mechanisms to reach key audiences
- Developed comprehensive outreach matrix and venue calendar to guide client’s outreach efforts
- Developed and delivered in-person user surveys to evaluate the program
- Planned, coordinated, and staffed public engagement events
Restoration of Upland Storage in Wetlands
Researchers from IUPUI and the University of Oregon partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a tool aimed at helping farmers better understand the values of wetlands and assess potential wetland restoration scenarios. Stemming from increased runoff intensities in the Midwest as a result of climate change, the project sought to identify the most suitable arrangement (spatial optimization) of upland wetlands to not only slow runoff but to align with farmers’ own needs and values. The project employed sophisticated real-time computer modeling to generate these wetland arrangements based on detailed profiles submitted by the stakeholders. Our work on the project focused around the overall coordination of stakeholder meetings, consultation with the Principal Investigators on interface elements and usability, and suggested modifications as input was received. Once the tool was in place, we utilized the model output/tool to assess practical implications of siting best management practices (BMP) in certain locations. Evaluation of the tool continued to receive additional NSF funding and the outputs are directing future watershed research and initiatives.
- Reviewed and advised on web interface
- Developed user profile questionnaire and evaluation mechanisms
- Identified and secured appropriate stakeholders to test the web interface
- Facilitated interactive stakeholder meetings to demonstrate and pilot the tool
- Created and conducted online surveys to gather feedback
Wetlands Program Plan
The Indiana Wetland Program Plan (IWPP) is a statewide action plan designed to guide continued wetland conservation and restoration. The vision of the Plan is to advance the understanding of the services and benefits that wetlands provide to the State, to promote the restoration and creation of high quality wetlands throughout the state, and to conserve and protect Indiana’s remaining wetlands. We served as a primary author of the Plan and led the Plan’s stakeholder engagement and public involvement activities. Stakeholder input was then utilized by our team to develop a prioritized seven-year implementation work plan. The IWPP includes priorities, goals, and action items reflecting the opinions and needs of many wetland stakeholders located throughout the state. Input was sought from hundreds of stakeholders including public and private organizations and individual members of the public. We also facilitated the activities of the Plan’s multi-agency Steering Committee that included the Indiana Department of Environment (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).
- Authored Statewide Wetland Program Plan
- Developed GIS mapping strategy to inventory critical wetland resources and restoration opportunities
- Deployed stakeholder surveys, analyzed findings, and followed-up with participants
- Conducted one-on-one meetings with key conservation partners to identify shared goals and future needs
- Developed comprehensive stakeholder communications matrix and recommended outreach materials to reach target audiences
- Inventoried wide-spread educational materials and identified missing elements needed to meet the Plan’s goals
- Facilitated multi-agency Steering Committee meetings and numerous public input sessions
US 31 Improvement Project
The New US 31 Major Moves Project, one of the largest in INDOT history, elevated sections of US 31 to limited access freeway standards. The project area (Hamilton County) presented unique challenges, as it includes one of the most developed luxury commercial corridors in the state. Additionally, this section of the road passes through several communities with varying development initiatives, historic resources, formal community aesthetics, and beloved recreational amenities. Our staff worked to maximize constructive community involvement opportunities and facilitate discussions with key stakeholders. These discussions were relayed to project designers in order to bring public opinion to bear on the final product. We also served as lead authors and investigators in the original environmental evaluations and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation that initiated the project, as well as the concluding FEIS document that solidified the project several years later. We saw the US 31 Hamilton County project through all of these phases, serving as a trusted resource among the relatively large project team and the public.
- Developed public involvement plans and outreach strategies
- Coordinated large public participation events
- Facilitated committee and targeted stakeholders meetings
- Provided design recommendations for project integration into the community
- Authored DEIS/FEIS documents and fulfilled all NEPA requirements and coordination
- Conducted environmental evaluations & agency coordination across multiple years
So, great staff – yes
Meaningful outcome – definitely
Repeat business – would love to find that “next” project to work on together!
Indy Rezone was the largest overhaul of Indianapolis’ zoning ordinances and development standards since 1969 – an effort aimed at making a more livable, more sustainable city. Our team played a critical role in this initiative by leading the facilitation of dozens of controversial discussions across multiple stakeholder groups and managing the efforts and outcomes of the Steering Committee over a two and half year timeframe. We served a leadership role by engaging focus groups at round tables, technical task forces, and the multi-stakeholder, 30-person Steering Committee. Outreach efforts were aimed at insuring that any ordinance changes had been thoughtfully developed and publically vetted across many groups and neighborhood scenarios. We focused on increasing the public’s understand of topics such as transportation choices; equitable, affordable housing; economic competitiveness; green investment; natural resource protection; and neighborhood invigoration. This understand was then leveraged into meaningful contributions by developing and facilitating diverse public input mechanisms. Indy Rezone will shape Indy’s built environment into the kinds of places people want to work, live and play for the next several decades.
- Overhauled the City’s zoning code to promote livability and sustainability
- Created and implemented strategic communication plan
- Facilitated multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and neighborhood focus groups
- Consulted on technical ordinance content and incentive programs focused on water sustainability
- Planned and executed large-scale public meetings
- Developed public outreach materials and cultivated new and unique venues for input
- Engaged public officials and professional organizations through policy round-tables
- Synthesized public and professional feedback from agencies and organizations to provide critical content to City project staff
City of Indianapolis
Riverfront Fort Wayne
Riverfront Fort Wayne is an initiative that envisions a revitalized downtown riverfront area that is a regional destination offering opportunities to experience nature, recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment in a whole new way. We led the community outreach efforts that resulted in the Riverfront Fort Wayne action plan – a plan that was developed through a process that included extensive community input. The resulting vision for the riverfront plan offers something for everyone, from natural wetlands that allows you to reconnect with nature, to an activity park that encourages people of any age to play, to a promenade that welcomes you to stroll and enjoy shopping and dining along the river. These areas of interest are strengthened by improved pedestrian, trail and vehicular connections from nearby neighborhoods and the downtown which will ensure an ease of accessibility to the riverfront for residents and visitors alike.
- Assisted multi-disciplinary team with concept plans for redevelopment of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront
- Developed stakeholder communication matrix and delivered associated key messages to target audiences
- Implemented diverse public input mechanisms, including programing and content for Envision Center public showroom
- Created unique public engagement events including boat tours and river walks
- Facilitated large-scale public meetings and open houses
- Analyzed public input and provided guidance to the design team
Upper Tippecanoe River Lakes Strategic Watershed Management Plan
Empower Results led all local steering committee meetings associated with the development of a strategic plan aimed at reducing non-point source pollution to the seven hydrologically connected lakes in the Upper Tippecanoe River chain. Committee members were guided through a series of meetings and activities focused on consensus building, resource consolidation, and the prioritization. These meetings were used to develop an action plan for future environmental and social projects in the watershed. As land-use and water quality issues were identified, subsequent strategies were developed through facilitated discussions with other stakeholders. Customized public outreach events and alternative meeting styles assisted in the translation of technical data and topics to the public throughout the project.
- Educational workshops
- Goals setting and meeting facilitation
- Stakeholder conflict resolution
- Long-range organizational planning
- Development of a GIS and public-friendly graphics
- Synthesis and communication of water quality findings
- Lake management recommendations