Imagine Dubuque High School Focus Group

High School Students Imagine Dubuque!

  • What would make Dubuque more livable, viable and equitable?
  • What words come to mind when you think of Dubuque?
  • What local places do you love to go to?
  • Where do you hang out with friends?
  • What do you want to see more of in Dubuque? 

These were just some of the questions posed to a focus group of 50+ students from Wahlert Catholic High School on the morning of Tuesday, September 20th.  The goal of the focus group was to (1) introduce “Imagine Dubuque”, the campaign for the new City of Dubuque Comprehensive Plan; and (2) gather students’ ideas and visions on how to improve the future of Dubuque. A primary goal of “Imagine Dubuque” is to ensure the plan reflects and celebrates the collective “voice” of the community, and hearing from teens (i.e. the future of Dubuque) is an important part of that equation.

A brief presentation by project manager, Mike Hoffman with Teska Associates, introduced Imagine Dubuque to students and provided context as to the purpose of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  From there a series of open-ended questions were posed, with the students providing the answers.

“How do we make Dubuque a more livable, viable and equitable place?” asked project manager Mike Hoffman.  “What are the places you enjoy going to? What’s missing? What needs to happen to make Dubuque a place you’d want to move back to after college?”

Wahlert High School Teacher, Barbara Ressler, who helped organize and oversee the focus groups, encouraged students to, “Dream big, say what comes to mind; there is no wrong answer.”

Over the next two hours, students spoke freely about what they liked most about their community as well as what they’d like to see more of. Below are a handful of quotables and photo highlights from the classroom event.

  • What we love: Sustainability, the people, diversity, the river, the small town charm of Dubuque, the name “Dubuque”, architecture, our city is the perfect size, Dubuque is photogenic, the arts, parks and nature.
  • Where we go: Riverwalk, Museum, 5 Flags, the Mall, movies, TJ Maxx, bowling at Cherry Lanes, chick filet, arboretum, Eagle Point Park, Mines of Spain, Buffalo Wild Wings
  • What we want: Recreation center with a rock climbing wall, live music venue that teens can go to, more places to places to hang out that don’t cost a lot of money, unique retail and restaurants, more opportunities to participate in arts and events in the community, more apartments / housing options for post-college graduates, more hiking trails, improved public transportation, a minor league baseball team.