Civic Summit Brainstorming Session Reveals Community Needs and Possible Solutions

Civic Summit Brainstorming Session Reveals Community Needs and Possible Solutions

More than 30 community members, business leaders, educators, nonprofit organizers, and others met with Whitewater Community Foundation Board Members on April 13 to discuss community needs and solutions on three different topics:  residential development, fostering greater community engagement, and marketing Whitewater.   

Kevin Brunner and Richard Haven Facilitated the Summit – photo by Tom Ganser.

The fifth Civic Summit hosted by the Whitewater Community Foundation began with an opening session by community members Richard Haven and Kevin Brunner, and then broke into three different topic groups. After active discussions, each group identified their top issues and suggestions as follows:

Residential Development

  • Current practices/policies are seen as road blocks by builders causing development consequences.
  • Housing (purchase and rentals) lacks affordability especially for young professionals and families. 
  • Finding housing assistance programs would help (both for purchase & improvements.)
  • Encourage construction of smaller starter homes and duplex options.

The City of Whitewater will be holding an Open House regarding Affordable Housing and invites the entire community to attend on Thursday, April 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the Community Room on the first floor at City Hall.

Photo by Tom Ganser.

Community Engagement

  • Placemaking – reimagining and shaping our public realms in order to maximize shared value – is a good starting place.
  • Cross-pollinating events and tying events together makes sense for encouraging attendance.
  • Communication of volunteer opportunities and events that exist should be coordinated and combined.
  • Calendars – need combining and coordinating to maximize outreach.
  • Having many ways of communicating and contacting people is important, as Whitewater is a richly diverse community.

Photo by Tom Ganser.

Marketing Whitewater

Discussions demonstrated Whitewater is a diverse community that provides many opportunities to work together:  the 4th of July parade and events, the City Market, the Spirit Tours, and more.  Our community needs its valuable but underutilized facilities like the Whitewater Aquatic and Fitness Center and the Young Auditorium to be supported to rebound from the pandemic.  Our rich diversity offers many hopeful opportunities for people of all ages, races, religions, etc. to learn from each other and celebrate our common humanity.

  • Whitewater’s brand should continue to be shared.
  • Provide additional resources (signage and information in Spanish) for our Hispanic community members who have recently moved to the area. Get all of the Hispanic groups together to share resources that are available.
  • Create opportunities for people of different backgrounds, age groups, etc., to integrate so that they can help meet needs in the community.
  • Compile Welcome Wagon baskets for newcomers.

Co-President of the Whitewater Community Foundation Roni Telfer said, “We were pleased with the turn out and the energetic participation of attendees.  We will be requesting feedback from attendees as we plan for next year’s summit.  Our thanks to all the participants.”

Photo by Tom Ganser.

Co-President Therese Kennedy added, “Theses were terrific discussions with some great potential solutions, and we hope they are a good starting point.  The Whitewater Community Foundation has been asked to host these summits, and we hope that the discussions continue to help guide policy and decision making.”

Whitewater Community Foundation board members thanked Richard Haven and Kevin Brunner for facilitating the event, McCulloughs LTC Pharmacy for donating the meal, and Tom Ganser for photography.

More information about the Whitewater Community Foundation can be found at, on Facebook, or by calling (262) 458-4088

The Whitewater Community Foundation’s mission is to “enhance quality of life in the Whitewater area via educational, cultural, charitable or benevolent expenditures.”