An oasis in the middle of the city, Reno’s Virginia Lake is a popular place for strolling, picnicking, and observing the abundant waterfowl. But in recent years, the lake has suffered from declining water quality and overgrowth of algae.
In the summer of 2014, Reno’s Public Works department decided it was time to act. The City of Reno embarked on a water quality study to identify contributing factors, and potential solutions. They invited the public to weigh in on four potential options related to the condition of the lake.
To include a broad range of voices in this discussion, Reno deployed a Textizen survey and promoted it through social media, newspapers, the City’s e-newsletter, and flyers posted around town. The survey offered the chance to vote on the proposed options, as well as share favorite lakeside activities and where in Reno (or outside the city) the respondents live.
“People who couldn’t make it to the public meetings were thrilled that they could still make their voices heard. We were amazed at how citizens responded to being included in the process.”
Digital Engagement Program Manager, City of Reno
It seemed like a lively, but fairly typical, public feedback effort. But as the Textizen survey brought more people into the process, and word-of-mouth spread, something interesting happened.