Corinth gets a quick start to STAR certification
In October 2017, the City of Corinth, TX was accepted into the STAR Leadership Program, which supports cities and counties as they get organized around the rating system then collect and report data in order to receive their first certified STAR Community Rating. With a population slightly above 20,000, Corinth residents have traditionally been content with their status as a bedroom community in the booming Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Looking to manage and capitalize on the region’s tremendous growth, Corinth is now looking to the future and using STAR to integrate sustainability and livability into upcoming comprehensive and strategic plan updates.
Lori Levy, Senior Planner for Corinth, describes the city’s reasons for joining the Leadership Program, saying, “Achievement of STAR certification will provide a framework to help articulate our objectives and goals toward sustainability, and incorporate them into our Strategic Plan, Comprehensive Plan and Lynchburg Creek Flood Study, while also providing benchmarks and supporting new programs and initiatives, such as Storm Water Management (iSWM), SolSmart designation, and the Simple Recycling program, just to name a few.”
As part of the Fall 2018 Leadership Program, participating communities received online trainings and the opportunity to have STAR staff travel to their community to hold an in-person data collection workshop. Over the course of the fall, the Corinth team attended training webinars and aligned local programs, plans, and policies with the STAR framework using tools like the Technical Guide to the STAR Community Rating System and the Excel crosswalk tool.
To facilitate community outreach and support the data collection process, STAR staff came to the city in January to hold an in-person QuickSTARt workshop. While Levy and her team were able to identify enough evaluation measures to almost reach the 3-STAR mark before the workshop, they had a lot of gaps that could only be filled by community partners and other departments. The workshop was designed to facilitate these conversations to accelerate data collection and move quickly into implementation of best practices.
Over two days, approximately 40 city staff and stakeholders met in a series of 6 work sessions, based around the STAR goal areas. Community partners, such as the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, the Chamber of Commerce, the Denton County Transportation Authority, and representatives from multiple school districts, were also invited to participate. Over 100 points of new actions and outcomes were identified, bringing Corinth’s projected STAR score solidly into the 3-STAR point range. At the end of the workshop, the score and key themes were presented to the Mayor and City Council.
Over the coming months, city staff and community partners will work to gather the supporting data needed for verification, with the goal of achieving certification this summer. Then they will focus on communicating progress to the community, updating the comprehensive and strategic plans, and deepening partnerships and coordination with other jurisdictions in the region.
“A challenge for the community is achieving a clear vision of the future and building the capacity of the organization through the creation of a citizen driven strategic plan. Communication is a priority strategy identified under the Resident Engagement and Customer Service policy area,” said Bob Hart, Corinth’s City Manager. “The communication strategy includes revising the city’s website and improving the presence of social media with significant emphasis placed on the community-wide strategic plan. STAR certification will be a catalyst for citizen engagement and participation in this effort.”
For more information on sustainability and planning in Corinth, please contact: Lori Levy, Senior Planner for the City of Corinth via phone at 940.498.3263 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on technical assistance and workshops, please visit the STAR technical assistance webpage or contact: Lacey Shaver, Community Engagement Manager at STAR Communities via phone at 202.828.1311 or via email at email@example.com.