What is Envision Athens?
Envision Athens is a community-wide effort to develop a common vision for the future of the Athens-Clarke County community. This process will result in a visionary, yet achievable multi-dimensional strategy to guide community and economic development for the next 20 years. In doing so, a shared sense of accountability and commitment to implementation will be achieved –this will not be “just another plan.” Envision Athens will be open and inclusive, intuitive and informed, and carefully-designed and facilitated.
Why does Athens-Clarke County need to do this plan?
In general, planning like this represents good stewardship. Communities—like businesses—cannot reach their potential without a deliberate and thoughtful blueprint. The community has many significant assets and the potential to evolve dynamically in the future. This potential has a much better chance to be realized with an intentional and thoughtful planning process.
How is this plan different from the Unified Government’s comprehensive plan?
The State of Georgia requires comprehensive planning and updates every 10 years for local governments. The comprehensive plan is limited to what actions the Unified Government will take in the community. Envision Athens includes many other community stakeholders, and the hope is that all stakeholders will align their respective strategies with the recommendations from Envision Athens. The Unified Government will be updating their comprehensive plan in 2017. The Envision Athens process will establish the larger community-based vision which will help to inform the development of the comprehensive plan.
Why should I care?
As a resident, student, business owner, and/or property owner in Athens-Clarke County, you have made an important choice to invest in this community. If you like the community just the way it is, you should care because change is always happening. If you want aspects of the community improved, you should also care enough to help identify what needs to be addressed.
How is this effort different from One Athens?
A little over ten years ago, Partners for a Prosperous Athens (PPA), convened community discussions to develop comprehensive strategies to address poverty. Envision Athens is focused on all facets of the future of Athens, not just the reduction in poverty. Further, the intent for the implementation of the subsequent plan that emerges from Envision Athens is to potentially hold an annual summit to discuss progress being made.
Who will lead the planning process?
A 38-member citizen steering committee is helping to guide the public process and the plan’s recommendations. The group is representative of the county’s many diverse interests. The staff is working closely with a planning consultant to facilitate the steering committee’s work, convene public workshops, conduct technical work, and draft the plan.
How is the planning process funded?
Major community stakeholders participating in the process are funding the effort. These include the following:
- Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County
- Athens Housing Authority
- Clarke County School District
- University of Georgia
- Athens Technical College
- City of Winterville
- Georgia Power
- Athens Area Chamber of Commerce
- United Way of Northeast Georgia
- Piedmont-Athens Regional Hospital
- St. Mary’s Hospital
Is there a role for residents to get involved?
Yes! Leaders are committed to an open and inclusive process. Anybody that cares about the future of the community will be able to participate and contribute their ideas and insight at public meetings and through web-based tools.
When are the public participation opportunities?
The first opportunity to get involved will be the week of January 30, 2017 at the Focus on the Future Workshops. There will be additional public events throughout 2017 and a series of online activities as well.
What will happen at the Focus on the Future Workshops?
Participants will work together in small groups to identify areas of strength and areas of opportunity within the community. The meeting will be carefully facilitated to ensure participants are comfortable sharing and that all input is captured. The event will also include a brief presentation overview of the planning process and timeline.
Do I have to be an expert to contribute ideas?
You are already an expert if you live or work in Athens-Clarke County. Who knows the community better than someone who lives or works here?
What is the timeline for completing the plan?
Preparation for the planning process started in October of 2016 and will last approximately one year. For more details on the overall process timing please see the about page.
Where can I learn more?
For more information about this exciting opportunity, please see the about page or send questions to: Cynthia Lambright, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-613-3020