Excelsior Springs is working to become an official community of excellence — and hopes to attain that by 2026.
“Communities don’t have a CEO,” City Manager Molly McGovern explained. “There are all organizations performing and working within the same footprint, but there’s no one in charge.”
To participate in the program, the city set up a core group of community leaders to address three needs: economics, education, and health. The City, the school district, and the hospital meet weekly, and engage in a twice-monthly webinar.
Part of the approach taken is for community leaders to work with residents, in order to come up with a systems-based approach. At the end of one year, Excelsior Springs will have developed a Baldridge-based Community Profile and will use it to identify the necessary steps towards becoming a community of excellence. The city will identify desired community outcomes and develop a Community Strategic Plan focused on these outcomes. Lastly, the city will establish a diverse, values-driven leadership team comprised of residents from the community’s key sectors, generations, social and economic groups.
In December of last year, residents were invited to participate in a survey, asking for input in order to identify the biggest challenges facing the community. That initial feedback identified housing, service industries, and healthcare as the three biggest challenges facing residents. Service industry refers to any entity that employs people. For now, these three challenges are the three that the group will focus on.
Excelsior Springs is part of a group that will be the first to participate and engage in the curriculum, which seeks to address those challenges faced by communities large and small, urban and rural, across the country. Communities of Excellence 2026 focuses on educational attainment, economic vitality, and the health status of residents.
The Excelsior Springs COE Steering Committee has developed the chart shown to provide direction for the program.