By Bob Ross and Trey Ragsdale
We’d like to personally thank the approximately 160 Fayette citizens who attended the March 5, 2014 Fayette Visioning public meeting at Sandy Creek High School.
Though the Competitive Assessment report was released to the public earlier in the year, this meeting marked the first time the public heard directly from our consulting partner Market Street Services, Inc. about the visioning process stages and the research showing Fayette County’s current economic, demographic and physical characteristics.
It’s always eye-opening to have a third party like Market Street conduct a detailed, factual analysis of your community. They don’t harbor pre-conceived notions or rely on popular impressions. They do gather a considerable amount of information from a variety of sources to assess where Fayette County stands compared to other counties, the region, the state, and the nation.
Market Street identified eight “storylines” or themes about Fayette County that emerged from data research and public input. Those storylines include: Growth and Migration; Shifting Race and Ethnicity; Local Education: Preserving an Asset; Highly Educated and Affluent: But Are We Losing Ground; Recession, Recovery and Economic Transition; Spatial Mismatch: Resident Skills and Local Jobs; Quality of Life: Amenities, Mobility, and Housing Options; and Safety and Perception of Crime.
The research and the public input on these storylines will be the basis of the next phase of the process: crafting a vision plan.
We have asked for Fayette County citizen engagement in the process, and we are extremely pleased with the response we are getting so far.
In December, there were over 771 hours of active public input in the form of online survey responses, focus groups and one-on-one interviews.
From productive conversations between attendees Steering Committee members at this month’s public meeting, attendees gave almost 250 individual comments and suggestions in response to questions about each storyline.
Using the online forum MindMixer, there have been more than 720 participants engaging in discussions and giving suggestions and responses to the questions posed there, translating to more than 4,600 page views on that site.
It has been refreshing to see so many of our residents talking about how Fayette County’s future matters to them and to hear the ideas they believe will make our county great. But we still need your input.
The input and suggestions that we are receiving from the public are the topics that are driving the questions you will find on MindMixer. We encourage all Fayette County citizens and stakeholders to continue to visit the MindMixer site and join the discussions that are taking place. Your input continues to be critical to the success of this process.
MindMixer can be accessed at http://fayettevision.mindmixer.com. Questions and topics will be updated every two weeks until June so we encourage you to visit regularly.
You can also get the most up-to-date information about the process and the Competitive Assessment report detailing the eight storylines on our website www.FayetteVision.org.
And you can always engage with us on social media at facebook.com/fcvision and on twitter @FCVisioning.[Bob Ross and Trey Ragsdale are co-chairs of the Fayette Visioning Initiative Steering Committee.]