The San Fernando City Council approved a community outreach and engagement plan to get feedback from residents and business owners as the City develops its vision for the downtown master plan.

On July 17, the City Council approved the outreach plan in a 3-1 vote. Councilmember Joel Fajardo voted against the plan and Mayor Celeste Rodriguez recused herself. The plan, as presented during the meeting, is a multi-pronged approach to reach out to the community to get their feedback over the course of nine to 12 months as the City completes its draft of the master plan.

“The whole process is trying to understand what the community wants to see for the downtown [mall]. That’s what we call the ‘visioning process,’” said Kanika Kith, deputy city manager for economic development. “Once we understand that, then we can figure out what’s our downtown master plan. … And it’s going to come up with ideas on what businesses we can put in, what site could be developed with certain types of uses that will be successful, and then it will help with implementation strategies and what our next steps [will be].

“It could be changing our zoning code, doing some infrastructure improvement, and it will definitely help us because when we have the downtown master plan, once we have our implementation strategy, we can also look at applying for additional grant funding to implement the downtown master plan,” Kith continued.

The plan involves informing the community through four different methods: a website, social media, project flyers and citywide mailers. The website, which will launch sometime this summer, will contain information about the master plan, upcoming outreach events and project documents. Information will also be shared through the City’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Flyers, both printed and digital, will be distributed to local businesses and circulated via emai as well as  sending a citywide mailer to residents, businesses and property owners with information about the project and the schedule with a QR code containing a link to the project website and online survey.

“The heavier community engagement will probably be the first six months of the process where we’ll do a lot of community building,” Nick Kimball, San Fernando city manager, said. “I would say that in the next 45 to 60 days, residents might be contacted to answer questions about the master plan, or they’ll see various surveys that will be available.”

The plan will also include an Ad-Hoc Development Committee, led by Councilmembers Cindy Montañez and Mary Solorio, and an advisory committee comprised of up to 12 community members — two appointed by each councilmember, one by the Downtown San Fernando Mall Association and one by the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce.

Kimball said the website with information on the master plan should be online sometime in August. Pop-up and open house-style events are also being planned to get community feedback.

“Make sure, when someone reaches out to fill a survey, to take the 10 to 15 minutes to complete those and give your honest feedback because you’re literally part of shaping the future of San Fernando by taking part in that,” Kimball said.