Over the past few years, the City of Charlotte and a variety of community agencies, such as CanDo!, Charlotte Rising, Charlotte Public Schools and the Hayes Green Beach Hospital, have been talking about and planning for a brighter future for city residents and businesses.
While all these agencies are aiming to improve the quality of life in Charlotte, each has its own strengths and skills that help it focus in on certain aspects of improvement. But where do these agencies’ strengths and skills overlap? What’s missing? To focus in on these questions, the City of Charlotte is spearheading an effort to create a 5-year strategic plan – “Vision 2025.”
What is a strategic plan? Generally, it’s a planning tool that looks at what’s working and what needs work in the community and identifies specific improvement actions that the community has the resources (or a plan to obtain resources) to achieve within the identified time period. In this case, the city will be looking at a 5-year window – between now and 2025. Understanding that the city only has so many resources (time, money and people) to tackle projects, the strategic plan will recognize the resources that other agencies and community groups can offer.
A steering committee comprised of community groups and agencies will lead the process, with the help of the consulting team of Giffels Webster and Vettraino Consulting. Vision 2025 will essentially address four key questions:
• Where are we now?
• Where do we want to be in five years?
• How will we get there?
• How will we know when we have arrived?
The steering committee, led by Yvonne Ridge, City Council Member, will seek input from its community group members and the public through opportunities including focus group discussions, internet surveys, mail surveys, open houses, visioning sessions, issues and solutions workshops as well as on social networking sites. During discussions, the steering committee we will focus on the framework of the 7 elements of a healthy community, which address:
• Basic Needs of Residents
• Health and Wellness
• Quality Education and Learning Opportunities for All Ages
• Vibrant and Diversified Economy
• Arts and Culture
• Strong and Connected Neighborhoods and Communities
• Natural Environment To be successful, Vision 2025 should include many voices, not just those from a handful of people. Community members of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate in the conversations. Opportunities to learn more about Vision 2025 and participate in the planning process will be shared on the city’s website as well as with partnering community groups and agencies.