Program Spotlight: Marana Citizens Forum gives a voice to community members

An actively engaged community is a strong community for children to feel supported to succeed in school and life.  Established by Town Council in 2011, the Marana Citizens' Forum is a new model for civic participation. The forum includes up to 32 delegates from throughout the community, including representatives from Marana Unified School District, Marana Health Center, Arizona Youth Partnership, Marana Chamber of Commerce, and Northwest Fire District. 

The Marana Citizens' Forum replaces the typical commission format that used to focus on single topics, such as police or parks and recreation. Instead, the Marana Citizens' Forum delegates bring their unique viewpoints and expertise to the discussion to develop recommendations for broad town-wide issues. When completed, the group presents its recommendations to Town Council for adoption and staff action. 

The forum was inspired by the highly successful Arizona Town Hall program, which has created statewide groups that guide Arizona's civic, political, business, and community leadership for more than 50 years. 

The Marana Citizens' Forum goals are to:

  • Increase the number of informed and engaged citizens
  • Develop feasible action plans for recommendation to Town Council on important issues
  • Connect ideas and action plans to the Towns' planning documents (Strategic Plan, General Plan, Economic Development Strategic Plan)
  • Establish and maintain a positive feedback loop between the Marana Citizens' Forum and Town Council
  • Promote civic dialogue in order to implement community action plans from Marana Citizens' Forum recommendations
  • Provide Town staff with direction on various projects based on citizen input and engagement

Over the past two years, the Marana Citizens' Forum has presented recommendations for business retention, development services process efficiency, marketing and communications, zipcode issues, and citizen engagement in the strategic planning process.