Government

Visioning results presented

Vision actions
Following are the 10 priority actions identified by visioning participants as most important to realize the community vision.

Strengthening the Economy
1) Create and implement an economic development plan.
2) Identify and work to increase potential properties for business.
3) Develop and implement a program to engage area colleges and universities in collaborative initiatives with the community.

Managing the Physical Environment
4) Prepare and implement a joint comprehensive land use plan.
5) Prepare and implement a long-term utility improvement plan.
6) Prepare and implement a pedestrian (sidewalk) and bicycle plan for Yellow Springs and the township.

Meeting the Needs of People
7) Conduct and implement a housing plan for the village and township.
8) Maintain and improve an independent public school system.

Promoting Energy Conservation and Sustainability
9) Develop a green energy and waste reduction program.
10) Create a campaign to encourage more local consumption of locally grown foods.

At a special meeting with Village Council and the Miami Township Trustees on Monday, Aug. 30, the two governmental bodies were presented with a written draft for public review of the year-long Yellow Springs/Miami Township visioning process.

“This is not perfect, but it’s roughly right for this community,” said Jamie Green of the Columbus firm ACP Visioning+Planning, which oversaw the visioning process. The draft, a 40-page document, is available online at www.yso.com.

Council will discuss the document at its Tuesday, Sept. 7 meeting, after community members have an opportunity to read it. However, no official legislation will take place at that time.

The purpose of the visioning process was to find community goals that have broad support, according to steering committee co-chair Fred Bartenstein.

“The job here was, through an organized and rational process, to try to find the center,” Bartenstein said. “We believe the contents represent aspirations that are broadly shared.”

Several Council members expressed support for the visioning outcomes. According to Karen Wintrow, the process was a “great process with a lot of engagement from the community…It gives us a direction of how to move forward.”

The visioning process began a year ago with the selection of ACP as the consultant, followed by the creation of a steering committee. The public segment of the process began last fall with a series of goal-writing workshops in which participants suggested ways for the village and township to be “the best they could be.” More than 300 people took part in the workshops, and the many suggested goals were narrowed down at a second public meeting and then further narrowed by ACP and the steering committee to 52 actions that support 10 general goals that relate to various aspects of community life.

At the final public process last spring, participants voted on the most important action initiatives to support the goals. See the sidebar on the front page for the top 10 action statements that emerged from the process.

Overall, according to the visioning document, the vision for Yellow Springs and Miami Township that emerged was, “Our vision for the future is to be a diverse and unique community with rich arts and lifelong learning opportunities that works collaboratively to create a more sustainable future — in the broadest definition — with vital and authentic villages surrounded by a carefully managed rural landscape.”

The visioning process also produced four initiatives, or “critical areas of focus for the community,” which are: strengthening the economy, managing the physical environment, meeting the needs of people and promoting energy conservation and sustainability. The action statements are categorized under these four broader initiatives. Along with these initiatives, nine principles of land stewardship emerged from the process.

The process was funded with $50,000 from Village Council, $5,000 from the Township Trustees and additional funding from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation and the Morgan Family Foundation.

The community has several options regarding how to move forward with the visioning outcomes, according to Green, who encouraged Council and the Trustees to appoint a task force to make sure that the process yields results.

“You did the process so it would lead to something else, some actions,” Green said, identifying a visioning task force as a group that could “continue to beat the drum about the process.”

The visioning process was different than what she expected, according to Marianne MacQueen.

“I thought the process would be more getting together and hashing things out,” she said, but instead there was little back-and-forth between participants. Initially disappointed, MacQueen said she was now mainly curious as to why this process was used.

“We try to focus on the positive, to get people to think aspirationally,” Green said. “We try to structure the process to find where the common ground is.”

Kathy Sanders was the steering committee co-chair with Bartenstein. Steering committee members were Ed Amrhein, Megan Bachman, Carl Bryan, Don Benning, Viki Church, Mark Crockett, Ted Donnell, Joan Edwards, John Hempfling, Ken Huber, Len Kramer, Bomani Moyenda, Enshané Nomoto, Patricia Olds, Gina Paget, Anisa Qualls, Alan Raney, Matt Reed, Shernaz Reporter, Gerald Simms, John Struewing, Jerry Sutton, Kathryn Van der Heiden, Rick Walkey, Marianne Whelchel and Karen Wintrow.

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