The visioning initiative: What’s in Fayette County?

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By Matt Forshee and Virginia Gibbs

If you were hosting visitors to our county on a comprehensive, seven-hour driving tour across Fayette County, where would you go and what would you see? What successes, challenges and opportunities would you point out?

That’s exactly what we were challenged to do last week, providing a familiarization tour of Fayette County to two of our community visioning partners at Market Street Services.

Market Street, which is embarking on Phase 1 of a process to help Fayette residents, businesses and leaders develop a vision and plan for the future, was in town last Thursday to begin learning about the diversity of places, people, assets and challenges in our community.

Before we left, we were given some great suggestions of places to visit and things to see from members of our coordinating committee and from community members who had connected via social media at www.facebook.com/fcvision.

Matt charted an itinerary, which ultimately totaled over 140 miles and took us from Fayette’s county lines with Coweta on the west to Clayton on the east, and from our border with South Fulton to just outside Spalding County to the south.

It was a beautiful, brisk sunny day — one we could call a “chamber of commerce” day for our visitors.

Along the way we saw farmland and beautiful water reservoirs; vacant strip malls ripe for redevelopment and vibrant shopping centers, shops and restaurants; million-dollar homes, apartment living and neighborhoods where foreclosures and the recession have taken their toll.

One airport, two amphitheaters, three industrial/business parks, four historically significant sites, five closed schools, and dozens of recreation fields/facilities later, we were just getting on a roll, giving Market Street a firsthand view of our local assets and infrastructure.

We toured Inman, Kenwood, Woolsey, Brooks, Fayetteville, Peachtree City and Tyrone, plus a quick jaunt into Senoia for some out of county context. And, yes, we went from Piedmont Fayette Hospital to Pinewood Studios.

As the day came to a close, we wrapped up the tour with our guests. We shared a sense of accomplishment at the extent of diverse places and assets in Fayette County we were able to show, while knowing the most important part of this process is yet to come — community engagement.

Beginning in early December, there will be multiple ways for the public to be part of this process. An online survey will go live on Dec. 2, followed by focus groups, stakeholder interviews and community leadership meetings.

We’ll host meetings at various locations around the community including Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree Conference Center, NCR Corporation, Fayette County Public Library, Fayette Senior Services and Clayton State University Campus in Peachtree City.

We invite you to engage in this exciting initiative. If you’d like to be on our email list or have questions or suggestions, contact us at info@fayettevision.org or find us on facebook.com/fcvision or follow us on Twitter @FCVisioning and #FayetteVision.

Stay tuned — the pace continues to accelerate!

[The authors are Virginia Gibbs, President & CEO, Fayette Chamber of Commerce, and Matt Forshee, President & CEO, Fayette County Development Authority.]

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