Fayette Visioning Initiative adopts vision statement

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The Fayette Visioning Initiative Steering Committee at its June 10 meeting adopted the vision statement that they developed along with focus group and online participants and other citizens over the past nine months.

The committee then presented a project update to elected officials from all five municipalities, unincorporated Fayette County and the Fayette County Board of Education.

The vision statement expresses, “Fayette County is the place where bold ideas become reality. We shall achieve this through our collaborative and inclusive leadership that elevates education, economic development, employment opportunities and quality of life to unrivaled heights.”

The vision identifies four major interrelated focus areas: education, economy, community and place, to lay the framework for the implementation plan for Fayette’s future.

For each of the four focus areas, the plan outlines three to five major goals, along with key actions that address issues and community needs to ensure the Fayette community retains and sharpens its competitive economic edge going forward. At the core of each action item is the inclusion of world class standards.

The plan also defines the community consequences of not taking action to invest in our future.

Most importantly, the plan inspires unity and a consensus that we are greater than the sum of our parts and there is a shared desire to move forward as one community — regardless of challenges and differing opinions. And we will accomplish this while preserving the unique character of our county and its individual cities and towns.

The process is far from over and the need for citizen involvement is even greater as we transition to the implementation phase. The Steering Committee’s goal seeks to keep the community engaged by detailing the action plan and inviting participation.

As we look at each focus area beginning with education, it is without question that the K-12 system is the hallmark of Fayette County’s value proposition. It is recognized that the Vision Plan aspires to create a national and international center of excellence for K-12 education and continuous lifelong learning. The strategic use of technology will bring students and instructors together to provide all students with access to subjects, career pathways and hands-on working environments.

The plan’s education pillar recognizes that traditional ideas of campuses, classrooms and teaching methodologies are likely to become much more fluid and integrated with the business community, colleges and universities. This shift will include the need for internships and entrepreneurial education opportunities that are tailored to meet the needs of Fayette students, businesses and governments.

The Vision Plan also looks to establish a full continuum of education in the county, from kindergarten to four-year degrees. Fayette’s educational opportunities will continue to include career changes, lifelong learning and workforce development.

Moving beyond our current education system to a world-class system relies heavily on actively supporting educators and administrators with the development, facilities and other resources needed.

The goals and actions outlined in the Vision Plan provide clear direction to initiate efforts that don’t constrain our committees, citizens, and elected officials who will make them a reality. Circumstances, opportunities and resources will certainly change and we will need to evolve as necessary to accomplish our goals.

One thing is clear: Fayette cannot afford erosion of our desirability to attract future families and businesses. This keystone goal area demands active participation by our education system, businesses, government entities, parents, students and other citizens.

The future is ours. Stay tuned — next week we’ll outline our economy focus. In the meantime, get engaged and plugged in; your input matters. Email us at info@FayetteVision.org to find out how you can get involved or be sure to attend our next public meeting at Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree Conference Center in Peachtree City on July 15 at 5:30 p.m.

The Fayette Visioning Initiative is diverse group of Fayette County business and community leaders who have come together to lead the community through a process to create a five-year vision plan for Fayette County. Further information about the visioning process, the list of steering committee members and important process documentation can be found at www.FayetteVision.org. Email info@FayetteVision.org to join the mailing list or request a visioning speaker for your group or organization.

[Bob Ross and Trey Ragsdale are co-chairs of the Fayette Visioning Initiative.]