For the past two months, VISION 2030, the year-long community visioning project for Gainesville-Hall County, has been holding public meetings around the county. In these meetings, citizens have been asked to describe how they would like our community to work, look and feel in the next 25 years. Citizens have also been asked about the things they would like to preserve in Gainesville-Hall County and what they’d like to change.
From these 12 meetings, which conclude in early December, have already come thousands of ideas, and VISION 2030 organizers have recorded these ideas in reports about each meeting. (Visit the VISION 2030 web site, www.vision2030.org, for these reports.) The ideas have also been captured in electronic spreadsheets, where they are sorted into 18 categories, from culture and economic development to recreation and transportation.
But, what’s next for VISION 2030? “What’s next,” said Co-Chair Anita Scott, “is a vision and, after that, a plan for reaching that vision.”
In December, VISION 2030 organizers will review the results of the fall vision meetings, looking for common themes, ideas and images that are repeated again and again in meetings around the county. These broadly repeated images will be used to draft a “common vision” the ways citizens want to live, work and play in Gainesville-Hall County in the future.
The VISION 2030 Steering Committee will be the first to review the proposed common vision, then it will be distributed to all who have participated in VISION 2030 meetings or registered with the project web site. These citizens will be asked to comment on the draft, and by January 2006, organizers expect to have a final common vision in place.
And, what will this vision look like?
“It will be broad and aspirational,” VISION 2030 Co-Chair Rob Fowler said. “The aim is to describe, as clearly as we can, the best our citizens think Gainesville-Hall County can be in the future, so we have a widely accepted set of goals for the next phase.”
What is the next phase?
In January, VISION 2030 will convene a number of planning groups around the big topics that emerge from the fall vision meetings. “These planning groups will be diverse,” VISION 2030 Executive Director Denise Deal said. “We’ll have experts, elected officials, business leaders, non-profit officials and citizens working together to make specific recommendations on how to achieve the vision that the citizens have described.”
For example, planning groups might be formed to look at recreation and the arts, transportation and land use, education and human capital, and so on. Each planning group will be given the common vision and all the ideas from the fall vision meetings that touch on that topic. The question each group will be asked: What can we do to move Gainesville-Hall to the vision the citizens have described?
By April, the planning groups will have made their recommendations, VISION 2030 Steering Committee will have reviewed them, and a draft of the plan with the common vision and all the recommendations will be ready for citizens to add their thoughts. That month VISION 2030 will host a “community day” event, at which residents will be asked to look over the plan and make comments. (Copies will also be distributed to all who’ve registered with the VISION 2030 web site.)
Based on citizen feedback, Denise said, the plan will be revised and, by June, a final version will be presented to the community. “And from that point on,” she added, “it will be up to all of us to make sure the citizens¹ vision becomes a reality.”
What Is VISION 2030?
VISION 2030 is a community visioning project, sponsored by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, engaging hundreds of Gainesville-Hall County citizens in describing the community they want to live, work and play in. The aim is to create consensus, open the door to new ideas and strengthen citizen support for actions that can move Gainesville-Hall County forward. The vision process began in October with a series of meetings around the county and will conclude in June with a detailed plan and recommendations to be presented to the community.
For information on VISION 2030, contact Denise Deal, Executive Director at 770-532-6206 ext. 104 or e-mail: ddeal@vision 2030.org or visit: www. vision2030.org