Group begins process of creating Fayette ‘vision’
Do you envision what Fayette County might look like in the future? If so, you are not alone. In fact, there is a move afoot to develop and implement that vision with the help of a wide-ranging variety of Fayette residents and a consulting firm specializing in community visioning.
“How do we retain our character and grow too? How do we maximize our strengths and respond to threats? How do we thrive without selling the soul of Fayette County?” asked Bob Ross and Trey Ragsdale, volunteer co-chairs of the recently formed Fayette County Visioning Steering Committee in a recent column in The Citizen.
These and other topics will be discussed in the coming months, and all are designed to formulate a vision for Fayette’s future and a process by which to advance that vision.
The idea of creating a vision for Fayette County came about after 40 Fayette citizens last year visited Williamson County, Tenn., near Nashville.
“Insights from the trip, combined with months of thoughtful consideration and research by a diverse steering committee, concluded the need to investigate a countywide vision and a detailed plan to achieve it,” Ross said. “Prospering communities across the U.S. that had already taken such efforts were benefitting significantly from their commitments.”
The Fayette County Visioning Steering Committee formed and recently conducted a community meeting attended by 150 county residents. It was from that meeting that Atlanta-based Market Street Services (MSS) was asked to assist in developing the Fayette County vision and implementation plan.
Ragsdale and Ross said MSS will, “conduct technical extensive research and interviews, moderate a number of focus groups, analyze results, and present them so we better understand where we are and where we want to go.”
Market Street Services partners in facilitating community, workforce and economic development strategies, helping communities proactively shape their own future. Supported by demographic research, target business analyses and public input, the holistic strategies provided take into account every dimension of economic opportunity and quality of life, according to Market Street.
MSS Project Associate Jonathan Miller said his firm will work with Fayette County to determine what can be done over the next few years and what can be done “to get the ball rolling.”
Market Street has worked in more than 150 communities in 33 states and abroad.
Specific to Fayette County, “Market Street will use a variety of data sources, including three selected counties who have similar demographics as Fayette County, as well as other differentiating qualities and competitive workforce environments. This data comparison will be utilized in the assessment process to provide further insight into our county’s strengths and weakness to foster a more strategic focus on our future opportunities,” Ragsdale and Ross said.
Currently planned by the steering committee are focus group meetings to be held Dec. 9-11. Examples of focus groups include educators, young professionals, large and small businesses, commuters, recreation and amenities, seniors and life enrichment endeavors such as faith-based, community and non-profit organizations.
Ragsdale and Ross said the steering committee also began developing a list of another diverse dozen and a half citizens for in-depth interviews by experienced Market Street staff.
“MSS will compile responses, analyze them, and explain common themes and outlying comments (anonymously) from respondents for Fayette County to consider in our vision,” the steering committee said.
Still other aspects of the developing vision for Fayette County include an upcoming tour of Fayette for Market Street team members and the development of a website which will contain information, surveys, blogs, presentations and reports.
Those with ideas, questions and offers of financial or in-kind donations can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.