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Posted on: April 29, 2016

Vision Plan goals falling into place at one-year mark

Vision Plan.JPG

One year ago, the results of the Henderson Vision Plan were released in a report that revealed where residents, local business owners and community leaders think the community should be headed in the future.
It’s definitely not been a report that’s been shoved onto a shelf to gather dust.
“This past year we have begun working with stakeholders to start implementing portions of the Vision Plan,” said local architect Tim Skinner, who serves on the Vision Action Group. “While we are just beginning, all participants have been excited to see that the plan is moving into action. I am sincerely impressed with their willingness be involved to help the Vision Plan become reality.”
By definition, a vision plan does not contain all of the answers or solutions. Rather, it gathers the “big ideas and dreams” from the community to guide “investment and how the community develops over the next 15 to 20 years.”
“Something like this always moves slower than you hope it would, and a lot has to do with financing these projects,” said Mayor Steve Austin. “But we are getting good participation from the sports community, the arts community and partners we need to work with. Things are moving along.”
Just last week, the Henderson County Tourism Commission hired a consultant to complete a feasibility and economic impact study for a community sports complex, which was one of the “big dreams” reinforced by the Vision process.
That study will also evaluate prospects and feasibility for a multiuse facility or meeting place, which is frequently mentioned as a community need.
In the area of the arts, the community gathered for a far-reaching “conversation” guided by the Kentucky Arts Council in February to explore ways the arts organizations could become more cohesive.
To continue that conversation, Henderson Area Arts Alliance is taking a leadership role and will host a strategic planning workshop on May 13-14.
Community arts organizations will be asked to send one or more representatives to help work through the issues and challenges of working under one arts umbrella organization, whether it be the Arts Alliance or a new, independent organization.
A project to develop and implement the community’s “brand,” the image that’s used in marketing and promotional efforts, is well under way and nearly complete after development by a consultant.
“I think one of the best things that has happened is that we gathered a group of extremely interested community people to follow through with Vision Plan suggestions we got from our citizens,” Austin said. “That group continues to actively work on the top four or five items. It’s hard to work on more than that at a time.”
Those who are not familiar with the Vision Plan but would like to learn more can find it at visionhenderson.org.
“The Vision Committee has been diligent in involving community groups as work moves forward on each goal area—particularly in the sports and the arts areas. Discussion has also occurred with the Healthy Henderson group on ways to reach various health vision goals,” said Dr. Kris Williams, Henderson Community College president and member of the Vision Action Group.
“I can’t believe it has only been a year— so much has been achieved due to many individual’s energy—particularly Kyle Hittner,” William added. “Her work with the Tourism Board and their willingness to shepherd some of the vision goals has really increased effectiveness. “
Other projects, including making improvements to Henderson’s Second Street “gateway” and the roll-out of a community calendar hub that can be used and accessed by everyone, have already been accomplished.
“I’m not sure how we could do any more in this amount of time,” said Hittner, director of the Henderson County Tourist Commission and point person for the Vision Action Group. “We’re firing on all cylinders and eager to make that list longer.
“There’s still work to be done to keep talking about our goals and help people realize how they fit into the Vision Plan and how they can play a role in crafting our future.”

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Posted on: April 29, 2016