August 7, 2003



The visioning process is back
After a four-month hiatus, it’s good to see the community visioning process return to Village Council’s agenda. Last discussed in February, the concept has re-emerged with a more specific proposal from the Ohio State University professor who is helping Council with the process. Such a long delay should not hamper Council’s ability to get the process rolling, and peak the interest of local residents, if Council members continue to discuss the project publicly and keep it near the top of their agenda.

Last month Council members reiterated their support for the project, called “appreciative inquiry,” when they agreed to contact local organizations and churches about participating in the process and volunteering for a steering committee, which, Council indicated, would help guide the visioning process along. The general point of the visioning process is for local residents to discuss their goals for the future of Yellow Springs and develop projects to fulfill those goals.

Since the process was proposed Council has struggled to build momentum for the project. Council now should be aided by the fact that a concrete proposal for a community summit has been introduced. Council members said that they supported holding a two-day summit during which local residents would discuss the future of Yellow Springs. Chester Bowling, the Ohio State specialist in community leadership who is helping Council organize the event, has proposed that summit focus on “bold and enlightened government and active, empowered citizens forging a thriving, vibrant and sustainable community.”

More than a year after it was first proposed, however, the visioning process is still in the planning stages. The key is Council’s ability to shepherd this project along, build public interest and ensure that the visioning process is open to all who want to participate. Continuing to refine the project and its purpose will help Council create what could be an excellent event.

—Robert Mihalek