Our Future Lancaster Community Engagement

A Community-Driven Planning Process

Community engagement was a critical component of the process to develop the Our Future Lancaster comprehensive plan. From the beginning, the City of Lancaster committed to hearing from all residents and stakeholders who wished to inform the creation of the plan. Throughout the process, the City had over 14,000 interactions with residents, including:

Meetings and Events
Social Media Engagements
Survey Responses

How did we engage residents in the process?


Participated in community festivals, neighborhood meetings, pop-up events in public spaces, etc.

By Phone

Partnered with the Lancaster County Association of Realtors to conduct a random survey of 400 residents.


Held virtual meetings; posted on social media; surveyed via Engage Lancaster; and created a website.


Obtained media coverage from outlets like newspapers, online publications, television, and radio.

Plan Unveiling

May 24, 2023

The City of Lancaster publicly unveiled the draft of Our Future Lancaster on May 24, 2023 to a crowd of over 350 people at the Ware Center, Millersville University’s downtown Lancaster campus. The City unveiled the results of its largest community engagement effort to date, representing two years of work undertaken in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the presentation, attendees explored the various aspects of the plan through a series of interactive exhibits in the Ware Center lobby.

Watch the Plan Unveiling

Engagement Highlights

Through a partnership with F&M, a representative group of 24 randomly selected residents of the city were brought together to deliberate about six key development sites. Participants were reimbursed for their time and provided with food throughout the day. The group prioritized affordable housing, mixed-use buildings, grocery stores, beautification and greenspaces, and public transportation, as related to these four sites: Sunnyside, Engleside, County Prison, Northwest Gateway, Manheim Pike Corridor, and typical urban neighborhood.

Through a partnership with Church World Service, immigrants and refugees were invited to participate in a series of three discussions about Lancaster City. Each discussion was held in a different language: Swahili and Kinyrwanda, Arabic, and Haitian Creole. A warm meal was provided to the 70 participants by an immigrant or refugee business. Priority issues include housing, transportation, and the need for greater language access and cultural inclusiveness & exchange.

City staff provided a toolkit that empowered residents to hold meetings about the city’s future in their own space and without government oversight. Eight meetings were held with 70 participants. Meeting hosts were reimbursed for their time. The following needs were identified: cultural education, inclusion of business owners of color; LGBTQ+-affirming policies, partnerships to address discrimination and community needs, after hours services, and temporary housing for those with borderline intellectual functioning and mental health issues.

The City wants to ensure residents can continue to live in healthy homes and neighborhoods as they age. The City created an Age Friendly Action Plan in December 2021 in accordance with the World Health Organization. There are four plan priorities: 1) Access to Services, Communications and Outreach; 2) Purpose & Meaning, Promoting Intergenerational Connections; 3) Housing and Public Spaces, Housing Creation and Preservation; and 4) Vision Zero and Public Space Design.

Dr. Donn Worgs Presentation and Local Panel Discussion

Through a partnership with Millersville University, the community was invited to a presentation by Dr. Donn Worgs and discussion with a panel of community leaders. Around 100 people participated and provided feedback. The presentation, entitled “Building Just Communities”, focused on access to decent affordable housing, access to family-sustaining jobs, and inclusive democracy.

Partners and Stakeholders

We engaged or partnered with over 100 different organizations and stakeholder groups, including but not limited to:

7th Ward Oral History Project, African American Cultural Alliance of Lancaster, African American Historical Society of South Central PA, Black Birds, Boys and Girls Club, Bright Side Baptist Church, Bright Side Opportunities Center, CASA, Church World Service, Clean Water Partners, The Common Wheel, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, Conestoga River Club, Crispus Attucks Community Center, Discerning Eye Community Agriculture, High Foundation, Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster, Lancaster County Community Foundation, Lancaster Downtowners, Lancaster Bikes!, Lancaster Rec, Leadership Lancaster, LGBTQ+ Coalition, Lower Susquehanna River Keepers, Ministerium of Lancaster City Churches, The Mix, National Action Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Lancaster Branch, Patients R Waiting, RegenAll, St. James Congregation, Spanish American Civic Association, The Steinman Foundation, Trinity Lutheran, United Way of Lancaster County, YWCA, Water Street Ministries.

Historic SE Elm Street Committee, North East Neighbors, South Ann Concerned Neighbors, SoWe, South Side Neighbors, West Lancaster Jewels.

Franklin & Marshall College, La Academia, Millersville University, McCaskey High School, Penn Medicine – Lancaster General HealthPennsylvania College of Art & Design, School District of Lancaster, Tec Centro, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Union Community Care.

ASSETS, Benchmark Construction, The Candy Factory, City Limits Real Estate, Coalition for Sustainable Housing, Commons Company, Community Basics, Cultivate Lancaster, Discover Lancaster, Economic Development Company, ELA Group, Fulton Bank, Grid Delivers, Hankin Group, HDC MidAtlantic, High Real Estate, Hillrise, Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lancaster City Alliance, Lancaster City Housing Authority, Lancaster County Association of Realtors, Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, Lancaster Workforce Investment Board, Landis Communities, Meedcor Development, RGS, Rhoads Energy, SACA Development, SDL Devco LLC, Site Design Concepts, Tenfold, Upohar World Kitchen, Willow Valley Communities, Zamagias.

Community Police Working Group, East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County Homelessness Coalition, Lancaster County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities, Lancaster County Office of Aging, Lancaster Parking Authority, Lancaster County Planning Department, Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, South Central Transit Authority, Lancaster Township, Manheim Township, PennDOT, West Lampeter Township