VISION 2030: The Ideas Are Flowing

The final VISION 2030 planning meeting is Saturday, March 25 at 8:30 a.m. in the Gainesville Civic Center. The meeting is open to the public.

We are nearly through the strategic planning phase of VISION 2030, and it has been exciting to watch it develop – just as it was with the citizen visioning phase last year.

In both phases, a group of citizens were given a task. Last fall, people were asked to describe what they thought Gainesville-Hall County should look like in 25 years. In the past two months, in the planning process, groups of citizens and experts were asked how to accomplish the things that the citizens described last year.

Both times, there was some initial bewilderment, followed by collective ”ah-hahs!” Then we saw pens scribbling furiously on flip charts, as the ideas built on each other. With more than 130 folks involved in seven planning groups, this is quite a sight.

The planning group work is important because these recommendations will form the blueprint of how we build Gainesville-Hall County in the future. Last fall the citizens said, “We want to be a 21st century community of towns.” Soon we will be able to say, “Here’s how we will build our 21st century of towns, and here are the roles that governments, schools, colleges, faith-based institutions, non-profits, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and citizens should play.”

In this phase, groups were assigned one to three big tasks to consider. (These tasks were drawn from the vision statement that was drafted after the visioning phase.) The groups started by doing research and reading all the ideas that the citizens generated last year. This was a big task: There were more than 4,000 citizen ideas from the visioning phase. Then group members used logic and imagination: If we’re determined to accomplish these major tasks – and make the citizens’ visions a reality – what should happen? Who should take the lead in making it happen? And how will we know if we’re making progress?

If you want a peek at what the groups have come up with so far, you can find the meeting reports on the VISION 2030 web site at At this point, some of the groups have drafted preliminary recommendations while others are still in the brainstorming stage, but the more important part is how much creative thought these folks are putting in to come up with the best ideas for Gainesville-Hall County. I think you’ll be as impressed as I have been.

The final VISION 2030 planning meeting will take place March 25 at 8:30 a.m. in the Gainesville Civic Center. The meeting is open to the public.

What’s Next?

The seven planning groups will review the Action Steps for each and make final recommendations.

Public input is needed once this meeting takes place. A draft vision with seven group action plans will be compiled and prepared for the Vision 2030 Steering Committee to review and approve – then a community day celebration will be planned in June for the public to come and give final input to the Vision 2030 document

Rob Fowler, Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance, is co-chair of Vision 2030, the Gainesville-Hall County visioning project.