A vision for our Fayette community

Robert Ross's picture

In conjunction with the vision plan adopted by the Fayette Visioning Initiative Steering Committee in early June, we continue to highlight the plan’s goals and objectives. Reflecting the considerable citizen input received throughout the process, the plan builds a framework for best practices and strategic collaborations within the county. The goal is to elevate Fayette County to become an unrivaled community.

The vision plan identifies four major interrelated focus areas that that structure the recommendations for action—education, economy, community and place. Over the past two weeks we highlighted specific information about how Fayette can take an already strong education system and turn it into a Center of Excellence for K-12 education and continuous lifelong learning. Intentional planning for technology resources, innovative learning systems, and targeted education partnerships within the business community are some of the components suggested reaching that goal.

We also highlighted how providing local jobs aligned with residents’ skills can continue to grow a more prosperous and dynamic economy in the county, and as a result, increase residents’ connection to Fayette. Developing strategic partnerships with the emerging film and entertainment industry will offer opportunities to capitalize on economic growth.

Today, we turn our attention to the plan’s focus area of community. As Fayette County begins again to grow, the plan recognizes that the county will need to welcome and embrace people of all ages and diverse backgrounds into a broader community. Finding areas of common ground and common identities will result in a place where all types of people can find a home. New opportunities for resident engagement and involvement, such as volunteer events and festivals or celebrations, will help build community connections and develop a personal resident ownership stake in their county.

Included in the plan’s vision for the community pillar is recognition that communication with residents is an important part of establishing a cohesive and collaborative community. As Fayette County is made up of five unique municipalities and an unincorporated county area, creation of an internal marketing plan and centralized information portals are ways that can increase a unified Fayette County identity and consistent messaging to residents.

Proactive creation of leadership opportunities that reflect Fayette’s diversity, including young professionals and a broad range of race and ethnicities, is vital to becoming a model community. Leadership development and training are a critical component of that initiative.

The Vision Plan recognizes that Fayette County is a healthy and safe community. To remain vigilant and proactive to safeguard these qualities, the plan recommends continuing to enhance collaboration among health agencies, support services and public safety agencies. Working together, these organizations can identify and explore ways to support improvement in the health and safety of Fayette citizens.

Though each focus area of the vision plan has specific goals and action items, each should be considered as it interrelates with the other focus areas. The success of the plan will require collaboration and leadership across boundaries and outside of individual silos — inspiring unity and a shared desire to move forward together to reach our goals.

With the vision plan in place, the real hard work begins. Citizen engagement is critical as we move forward to the implementation phase of the process — Fayette’s future belongs to us all. The Steering Committee invites all Fayette citizens and stakeholders to our next public meeting Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree.

An overview of the vision plan and the corresponding implementation plan will be presented and steering committee members will meet with attendees in individual breakout groups based upon the four interrelated focus areas. Citizens will learn how they can engage in the process and be able to ask questions about the plan and the upcoming implementation phase.

Next week, we will highlight the fourth area of focus — place.

The Fayette Visioning Initiative is a 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 complete Vision Plan document, the list of Steering Committee members, and other 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.]