VISION 2030: The Future is Ours to See

VISION 2030 ­ The Future is Ours to See ­ officially kicked off at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce in September. VISION 2030 is a year long community project that will involve hundreds of citizens in planning Gainesville-Hall County’s future direction over the next 25 years.

Understanding the past, analyzing the present and articulating the future: These three elements make up a process known as “Visioning.” Community visioning engages large numbers of citizens in thinking about and planning their community’s future. In doing so, visioning helps create consensus, opens the door to new ideas and strengthens support for action. Rob Fowler, former Chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber Board of Directors and partner with Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance and Anita Scott, Northeast Georgia Medical Center & Health System, are Co-Chairs for VISION 2030. The VISION 2030 process will be overseen by a Steering Committee made up of a diverse group of local citizens.

Visioning itself is not a new idea ­ large corporations and non-profits have been using the technique for more than 40 years. Community visioning became popular in the 1980’s when it was used successfully in revitalizing Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I saw community visioning up close in Chattanooga in the early 1990’s,” said VISION 2030 Co-Chair Rob Fowler. “The final results were more than anyone could have hoped for, and it produced great community ideas that were supported by the public.”

VISION 2030 will have two phases. The first phase will be a series of 10 community meetings at various locations around Hall County, starting on October 25 at the Gainesville Civic Center. At each meeting, citizens will discuss and describe the community they would like Gainesville-Hall County to be by 2030. Otis White, Civic Strategies, and Jon Abercrombie, Common Focus, will facilitate the meetings.

White has great expectations for the process. “VISION 2030 fits well with Gainesville-Hall County’s reputation as being an innovative, forward thinking and values oriented community,” said White. “I expect ‘Blow your-socks-off’ ideas from this group of citizens.”

By the end of the year, the results from the community visioning meetings will be used to draft an overall vision for Gainesville-Hall County.

The second phase, which will begin in January, will be strategic planning, where groups of citizens and experts work together to draft recommendations for achieving the vision. At various points, citizens will be asked to comment on the plan, scheduled for completion in June 2006.

“The key to this process is getting large numbers of citizens involved ­ representing all aspects of our diverse community,” said VISION 2030 Co-Chair, Anita Scott. “We want the vision to reflect what all citizens want for Gainesville-Hall County, so we will be working very hard to get hundreds of citizens who represent all segments of our community to come to our meetings,” said Scott.

The process must include all ages, income levels and ethnicities to create a true community visioning collaboration. The Co-Chairs and Steering Committee have an ambitious goal of getting more than 1,000 people from Gainesville-Hall County involved in this year-long process.

Another aspect of the year-long project will be a comprehensive communications effort. A free e-mail newsletter will be available to keep participants informed about VISION 2030’s progress. The VISION 2030 website has been established ­ ­ and will house every document created throughout the year-long process.

Gainesville-Hall County is in a position to greatly influence its future. Kit Dunlap, President of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce said, “Visioning is the key to identifying plans that squarely meet citizen interests and address the pressures, trends, needs and opportunities that our community faces. If VISION 2030 had an adopted motto, it would be ‘You talk, we listen’.”

How can you get involved? Attend a meeting. Each meeting will begin with registration and conclude within two hours. Pre-registration is not necessary, however, if you would like to do so, please contact Denise Deal, Executive Director VISION 2030, 770-532-6206 EXT 104 or e-mail:

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