Romer: Vista project provides opportunity for community engagement
A thriving community is focused on its people and needs a common vision of what it aspires to be. Combine these together — our people, and our common vision — and you can see why I’m excited about Eagle County’s Vista project.
From its website, Vista is a bold reimagining of how community members and decision makers can work together to produce realistic, effective outcomes. It invites residents and leaders to come together more frequently and conversationally to create solutions.
Vista seems to embrace and develop a culture of dialogue and civic engagement throughout Eagle County that will serve better, more community-led decision making for years to come. The goals of the program are to articulate a shared vision for the future, strengthen the civic capacity and leadership of our community, engage historically disenfranchised and disproportionately impacted communities, enable meaningful progress and impact in addressing inequitable systems, and to leverage findings into other Eagle County Government planning efforts.
Eagle County will act as the primary convener for Vista in partnership with towns, municipalities, nonprofits, businesses, local organizations, and community members to help facilitate a regional feedback-driven process. While Vista will continue to evolve to meet future needs as they arise, its initial focus is to develop the county’s Comprehensive Plan, promote participation in community development, rebuild the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and improve equitable access.
I have been participating in the Vista project and have been impressed by the efforts thus far. Eagle County is bringing together people across the region to ensure that Vista reaches as much of the community as possible. Essentially, Vista is an engagement project aimed at collecting feedback from the community to bring back to decision makers to help shape the policies that affect them on a daily basis.
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Vista is focused on a few key community priority areas including traditional vision project goals such as county planning efforts and COVID recovery. Engagement with the Vista project will help the community weigh in on the Comprehensive Plan, land-use regulation, strategic priorities, and other factors that create a blueprint that defines how our community grows. 2020-21 has been an extremely challenging time. How can we come together to rebuild after COVID to create a more resilient economy that works better for all?
Importantly, Vista will also focus on creating a community vision and equitable access. A thriving community needs to listen to its citizens to understand what your vision is for the future of Eagle County.
What do you love about the community? What would you like to see change? How can we become better at creating equitable, accessible and culturally relevant spaces for all to participate in local government? The Eagle County team is committed to reaching out to and addressing the needs of historically excluded populations including people of color, youth, older adults, under-resourced and differently abled people.
It is important to understand what our community feels is important to help focus on these critical issues. The plan is to dive deeper into these themes to further define the problems and examine potential solutions. This feedback will be delivered to decision makers as they adopt new or revised policies.
Vista creates an opportunity to get involved in the community and to help drive the future of Eagle County. Everyone deserves a thriving community and a shared vision of what we want to be; otherwise, we’re just a group of individuals living in the same geographical area.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.