Focusing on the Future

By Denise Deal, Executive Director, VISION 2030

June 2008 marked the two year completion of the Vision 2030 Plan. In the initial phase in 2006, citizens shared their vision of the future in Gainesville-Hall County, with nine months spent canvassing the community, generating over 4,000 ideas and the creation of a 40-page Vision Plan. Vision 2030 has committed itself to advancing these citizen goals and initiatives. To target specific goals, “15 Big Ideas” were identified for concentration. Accomplishments have been many and below are examples of the initiatives currently at work in our community:

• Facilitated a new collaboration among educational institutions titled the “Vision 2030 Education Consortium” that meet and discuss current activity on each campus as well as opportunities for collaboration.

• Initiated a new organization of Hispanic and minority owned businesses, the International Small Business Council, that targets Hispanic minority owned businesses. The group has identified specific areas of interest with a recent clean-up and beautification of Atlanta Highway.

• Launched a Green Space Work Group to assist in Gainesville-Hall County’s goal of having the greatest amount of protected green space of any urban county in Georgia. The group has identified some 16,000 acres of green space in the Gainesville-Hall County area, government and privately owned property. And, the group is concentrating efforts for all existing park space to have consistent and cohesive signage and amenity detail.

• Assisted the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce in creating the HealthSmart Interactive Health and Wellness Expo and 5K Corporate Fitness Challenge. These highly successful events created an opportunity to gauge our community wellness by compiling specific data from individuals attending the Expo, and the 5k Corporate Fitness Challenge encouraged the community to be more health conscious while providing an opportunity for all ages to get out and exercise.

• Relocating the Green Street Post Office in Gainesville to midtown remains a goal to be accomplished by 2030!

• Bringing a hotel-conference center to Downtown Gainesville is a top priority, as our community is overlooked daily by trade and conventions due to our lack of regional midtown meeting and convention space. Vision 2030 identified this need as one of the “Top 5” initiatives.

• Because Gainesville-Hall County is becoming one of the largest concentrations of retirement living centers, creating a Senior Leadership Program that is a model for the nation is a top goal. Vision 2030, in partnership with the Greater Hall Chamber, hopes to create a program similar in structure to the highly successful Leadership Hall program for seniors.

• Redevelopment in Oakwood, Flowery Branch and Gainesville.

We have much work ahead, and many would say the easy part of our task is complete and now comes the more difficult part – implementation. The citizens of Gainesville-Hall County did dream big and the future is ours to see thanks to the generous support of our HALLmark investors.