City of Ferndale Master Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Parks & Recreation Plan
As it embarked on the five-year update to its master plan, the City of Ferndale was eager to do more than what’s mandated by the State of Michigan. It sought to incorporate Ferndale’s multiple planning and policy documents into one unified framework that would provide comprehensive and consistent guidance for City staff setting policy. The City aimed to build more public trust in the planning process by clearly communicating how they gather input, evaluate priorities, and establish goals and objectives to guide decision-making.
The updated master plan effectively illustrates the City’s planning principles and goals and demonstrates City leadership’s commitment to addressing the most vexing issues of our time, including racial justice and climate change. Rather than a dense policy document, it is a highly readable, graphically-rich guide that translates the community’s vision into practical goals and measurable outcomes—a holistic approach that helps the public understand the give-and-take required in governing. The planning process fostered a more engaging two-way dialogue between the City and its residents, an invaluable advantage as they work together to make decisions on Ferndale’s future.
The Parks and Recreation Plan aimed to create a future for Ferndale parks that meets each of the seven guiding principles of the Master Plan. It also focused on creating implementable goals for city staff that matches the current resources available while setting the stage for increased staff capacity, building partnerships, and showcasing the impact of parks on the community.
Plan Ferndale 2022 also acknowledges the City’s unique qualities and values, many of which emerged during the public engagement phase. Because Ferndale is appreciated as a hub of diversity, the plan recognizes “people” as a defining characteristic, one of three vision elements—along with “place” and “systems”—used to organize plan goals. The plan examines each of these three vision elements, identifying specific goals and measuring them against the plan’s seven guiding principles: Progressive, Equitable, Sustainable, Resilient, Inclusive, Healthy, Thriving and Connected.
Accountability is a hallmark of the plan. For every goal, Plan Ferndale spells out “What We’re Doing Already,” “What We Heard,” and “How We Can Go Further.” It champions issues with candid language: “Ferndale aims to aid in the dismantling of racist intergenerational poverty, not contribute to it, by setting an equitable housing policy.” It provides facts in a concise illustrative format, with highlighted statistics, bullet-point lists, maps, and other graphics. Many pages can be used as stand-alone handouts for community meetings or neighborhood canvassing.
Despite the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, community engagement in the plan was conducted through virtual community summits, stakeholder committees, surveys, and discussion board comments, building on findings from open houses and focus groups held for the 2017 Master Plan Update. Guided by its residents, implemented, and acted upon by its committed City leaders, Plan Ferndale is a refreshingly bold and honest plan of action that reflects what Ferndale is and aspires to be.