About

In today's world, community members are more connected and educated on issues that affect their lives. As a result, they expect opportunities to have a say on the decisions within their communities. Owatonna belongs to all who live here so when community members are consulted in a meaningful way and all perspectives are considered, decisions are better informed, trusted and supported.

Effective community engagement provides business leaders and elected officials an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the people of Owatonna, and provides for sound investment in decision making - by ensuring decision makers are informed of community needs and aspirations.

To be effective, community engagement must meet people where they are. Today, more than ever, "where they are" is online. The Engage Owatonna Taskforce has formed to bring a powerful online engagement platform to Owatonna - a 12 month PILOT endeavor - to test its potential and viability among the community.

This tool is meant to complement other forms of public consultations - open houses, focus groups, coffee chats, workshops, etc. All public consultations will be guided by the Community Engagement Framework.

GET REGISTERED to stay in touch with community efforts that interest you.(External link)


In today's world, community members are more connected and educated on issues that affect their lives. As a result, they expect opportunities to have a say on the decisions within their communities. Owatonna belongs to all who live here so when community members are consulted in a meaningful way and all perspectives are considered, decisions are better informed, trusted and supported.

Effective community engagement provides business leaders and elected officials an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the people of Owatonna, and provides for sound investment in decision making - by ensuring decision makers are informed of community needs and aspirations.

To be effective, community engagement must meet people where they are. Today, more than ever, "where they are" is online. The Engage Owatonna Taskforce has formed to bring a powerful online engagement platform to Owatonna - a 12 month PILOT endeavor - to test its potential and viability among the community.

This tool is meant to complement other forms of public consultations - open houses, focus groups, coffee chats, workshops, etc. All public consultations will be guided by the Community Engagement Framework.

GET REGISTERED to stay in touch with community efforts that interest you.(External link)


  • When to Engage

    Engage Owatonna is committed to engaging the community in the following situations:

    • To inform a decision or action through community input

    • To help identify community needs and aspirations

    • When the community has raised or expressed an interest or concern

    • When there is a high-risk matter impacting the community


    In the engagement planning process, consideration is given to the complexity of the decision and the optimal time needed for people to respond. Each engagement process is considered on its individual basis and merit.

    To ensure a successful outreach process, careful consideration is given to the appropriate tools and timing for the project or decision. While community engagement will not replace the final power of the decision makers, it is invaluable in the way it enhances the capacity to make well-informed decisions on behalf of the community.

  • How We Engage

    • Be proactive. Initiate communications and dialogue with the community to maximize resident engagement. Ensure decision makers, institutions and elected officials have a clear understanding of and a commitment to engaging with the community in a meaningful and effective way.

    • Provide frequent and diverse opportunities for public education and engagement. Provide a variety of creative, convenient and cost-effective ways for the public to access educational information, become involved, and have real opportunities to engage and provide feedback.
      Provide a consistent and coordinated approach to community engagement for decision making institutions and community partners to guide the selection of the most appropriate method and level of engagement.

    • Go where the people are. Place a priority on increasing public engagement by taking advantage of opportunities to meet the public where they are. Utilize online communication and engagement techniques to maximize participation and enhance traditional, in-person engagement methods and processes.

    • Be collaborative. Facilitate communication partnerships to create synergy and save taxpayer dollars. Improve the relationship and level of trust by ensuring the community is informed about and involved in problem solving and decision making.

    • Encourage the open exchange of ideas. Invite conversations with the public, encourage idea sharing and find common ground. Strengthen community connectedness by creating opportunities for the community to get involved and provide feedback regarding matters that are important to them.

    • Increase community awareness, interest and participation in projects and initiatives taking place in our community. Ensure community feedback is heard, respected and taken into account in the decision-making process.

    • Enhance community trust. Enhance the relationship and level of trust among community members, to ensure the community is informed about and involved in local decisions, and information received through community engagement efforts is reported back to the community.

    • Enhance transparency. Demonstrate that community business is conducted in an open and transparent manner.

  • Why Engage?

    What Community Engagement Means
    The purpose of community engagement is to gather diverse community perspectives and present them to business leaders, civic partners, and elected officials to make an informed decision. It means that they talk with the community before making big decisions. It means that if you have concerns or ideas about how to improve the quality of life and services in the community of Owatonna, we want to hear and discuss them. We know that those who live, work and play in Owatonna have valid and valuable opinions about our great community.

    What Community Engagement Does Not Mean
    What community engagement does not mean is that everyone will always agree on decisions that are made within the community. Owatonna is made up of a diverse population with very different interests and approaches. Different opinions will be listened to and, where possible, incorporated into the decision-making process in a fair and balanced way. Community engagement does not replace the responsibility for elected officials to represent the interests of the community and make a final decision. A purpose of gaining input from the community is to provide information about the public’s opinion and interests to support decision making.

  • Community Partnership

    Engage Owatonna is an online platform, with the goal of engaging our community -- gathering feedback and/or connecting with communication on issues and opportunities that we share together. The platform has been created and is managed by a community partnership that includes city government, local businesses, Owatonna Public Utilities, Owatonna Public Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, faith communities and interested individuals.

    As Owatonna moves into the future, it is critical that its citizens know they have a voice in the process. Through Engage Owatonna, community leadership groups and community members will be listening.

    At any time, a variety of project consultations will be shared on the Engage Owatonna platform. Community members are encouraged to submit topics for consideration and discussion through this platform.

    Viewed as a “living document,” the Community Engagement Framework will evolve and change over time. Input will be sought from community members and partners to actively enhance and refine this important platform.

Page published: 13 April 2021, 15:05