Have you ever thought about the future and wanted to be able to impact it in a positive way? Now is your chance if you live or work in Fayette County. The recently created Fayette Visioning Initiative is underway and organizers want to hear from you.
Recognizing the need to address the future of Fayette County, the Fayette Visioning Steering Committee was formed earlier this year and in November conducted a community meeting attended by 150 county residents. It was from that meeting that Market Street Services of Atlanta was asked to assist in developing the Fayette County Vision and Implementation Plan.
The Dec. 9 steering committee kickoff meeting at Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree in Peachtree City was attended by more than 100 people who received an overview of the process from Market Street representatives. It will be in the coming months that the vision will be solidified using public input.
The visioning initiative will occur in three phases which are designed to answer several basic questions about Fayette’s future. The first two phases will result in the development of the vision while the third phase will begin the process of implementing that vision.
Phase 1 involves a Competitive Assessment of the county and is designed to answer two vital questions: where are we now and where are we going?
Phase 1 will compare the county’s social, demographic, economic and physical characteristics to those of Forsyth County, Hanover County (Virginia), Williamson County (Tennessee), metro Atlanta and the nation. The visioning initiative steering committee agreed to synthesize the quantitative data obtained with public input to “frame the discussion around the key ‘story lines’ and competitive issues facing Fayette.”
Part of the Phase 1 process includes 10 focus group meetings and 17 interview sessions held earlier this week. Participants included educators, students, young professionals, large and small businesses, commuters, seniors and other citizens involved with recreation and amenities, life enrichment, faith-based, community and non-profit organizations.
When complete, Phase 1 will answer questions about Fayette’s people, the county as a place and the economic issues that affect the county’s long-term prosperity.
Phase 2 encompasses the Vision Plan and will answer two questions: where do we want to be and how do we get there?
The Vision Plan will address short-term and long-term goals based on feedback and assessment findings. The vision will include specific goals, objectives and tactics needed to create the future Fayette residents desire.
In addition, Market Street will supplement the Fayette vision with examples of best practices from across the country to provide additional guidance related to individual plan components.
The idea is to use innovative plans from across the nation to serve as a catalyst through which Fayette can develop its own best-practice approach.
Phase 3 will be when “the real work begins,” Market Street founder J. Mac Holladay told the audience Dec. 9.
Identified as Implementation Guidelines, Phase 3 will represent how the Fayette vision will be implemented and made operational. As with Phase 1 and 2, Phase 3 will answer two questions: how do we get there and how do we sustain engagement, assess our effectiveness and update the plan?
The guidelines will include detailed timelines for each year of plan implementation, assign tasks to community partners, address capacity constraints, estimate costs and funding sources and provide measurement tools to enable Fayette County leaders and residents to track progress and goal attainment.
Throughout the entire process, it is vital to engage citizen participation.
“The inclusion of citizen stakeholder input in the Fayette visioning initiative is critical to this plan’s progress and ultimate success,” said Trey Ragsdale, co-chair of the Fayette Visioning Initiative Steering Committee. “By receiving direct input from citizens who represent all diverse sectors of the county, we can create a vision plan that reflects the ideas and issues that are most important to the community at large.”
In that spirit, all Fayette residents can help shape the county’s future by taking a 10-minute online survey available through Dec. 31. The survey may be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/fayettevisioning using your web browser.
All citizens who live and/or work in Fayette County are invited to participate in an online community survey to answer questions and give personal opinions about their sense of place, strengths, opportunities, issues and challenges faced in the Fayette community.
Not only are Fayette citizens invited to complete the survey, they are also encouraged to forward the link to local friends, family, neighbors and business colleagues, Ragsdale said.
In conjunction with the online survey, the Fayette visioning initiative has launched a website at www.fayettevision.org. Visitors to the site can learn about the visioning process, how the public can stay involved and other important project details.
As with everything else in life, the cost of developing and implementing a vision for Fayette County’s future does not come free. To date the initiative has raised approximately $60,000, according to steering committee co-chair Bob Ross. A large portion of that amount came from Coweta-Fayette EMC, Ross said Monday.
Those with ideas, questions and offers of financial or in-kind donations can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below, more than 100 Fayette County residents met Dec. 9 for the kickoff meeting of the Fayette Visioning Initiative that in coming months will help define Fayette’s future. Photo/Ben Nelms.