City leaders and consultants held the first of several “kick-off events,” aimed at finding partners for the Imagine Dubuque comprehensive plan, with a by-invitation luncheon Thursday.

Teska Associates, the consultant that developed the plan, concluded that for Dubuque to succeed in its dozens of goals and recommendations, help was needed.

“It isn’t just OK to come together and to ask for help,” said Erin Cigliano, senior associate and designer with Teska. “It is a necessary and beautiful thing. It is the collective power of the whole — the ‘me’ and the ‘we’ coming together — that’s going to get us where we need to be to not just Imagine Dubuque, but to make it happen.”

Starting Thursday and running through this weekend, the group will share the plan and its components that require partners at events all over town.

During a Thursday luncheon attended by about 100 people, Mayor Roy Buol highlighted organizations already moving the needle on some of the goals identified in Imagine Dubuque.

“Our goal in the implementation process is to support these efforts and connect the community in order for us to do more together,” Buol said.

Dupaco Community Credit Union President and CEO Joe Hearn touted his company’s return to its historic home in the Millwork District and redevelopment of the Voices building. Robert Kimball, executive director of Dubuque Dream Center, outlined his organization’s success in working with underprivileged youth. Convivium Urban Farmstead co-owner Leslie Shalabi told her story of providing local food in the North End and nutrition programs alongside the Dubuque Pacific Islander Health Project.

Chris Pape, fundraising chairman for Tri-State Mountain Bike Riders, said after the presentations, that to this point, Dubuque County has been a much closer partner with his group but that he was hopeful about this collaborative approach.

“The way they’re going to be successful is by engaging as big a chunk of the community as they can,” he said.

The luncheon helped Evelyn Nadeau and her husband, Marcos Rubinstein, of the Dubuque chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, form connections with partners. Nadeau said the group has faced difficulties gathering Dubuque’s Latino families to their banner in light of the current political climate.

But they happened to sit at the same table as members of the Dubuque Pacific Islander Health Project, and she said her group’s needs might be met with similar programs.

That is the sort of connection that Cigliano said work on the plan is supposed to build.

“There are a lot of cultures, a lot of ethnicities and orientations and identities,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure everyone feels a part of this future.”

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