In 2006 the citizens of Kennedale elected Bryan Lankhorst as mayor based in part on his desire to create a shared vision of Kennedale and its future. In early 2007, The City of Kennedale hired Bob Hart, one of the most outstanding professionals in the field, to be their new city manager. Brian Johnson, a second- term council member, committed to this shared vision strategy requested and received a sabbatical from Tarrant County College. Mr. Johnson’s primary role during the sabbatical is to provide support to a strategic planning process.
Bob Hart approached the Dean and several professors at the School of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPA) at UT-Arlington to assist the city in researching several new action initiatives. SUPA accepted the offer in a series of classes designed to work with the City of Kennedale. Professor James Kunde’s class on communication assisted by Dean Richard Cole designed a Water Bill Citizen Survey that could be sent out and tested for citizen interests and concerns. Concurrently Professor Sherman Wyman utilized his economic development class to interview community business leaders and employed the results to guide the potential creation of Kennedale’s Industry Council.
After receiving the results of the general survey, sent through the water bill, the Communications Class conducted five focus groups. The class was trained beforehand on how to facilitate and analyze focus groups. They produced five summary reports. It is worthwhile to review each report separately for their specific insights into clues as to how future initiatives should be shaped. Taken as a whole there are three distinct conclusions one can draw on from the group interactions.