Over the past seven years much has been explored, discovered and accomplished. This unique undertaking created opportunities for the community to explore what could be, discover the depths and wealth of community talent and commitment.
The accomplishments have been many and interwoven by significant collaboration with community businesses, government organizations, nonprofits, service organizations and beyond. The tangible accomplishments have taken a collective effort by many. For a glance at the amazing work accomplished and the significant progress on Vision 2020’s largest vision, the Community Recreation Center set to open January 2020, visit www.vision2020austin.com.
An equally valuable accomplishment is the collective
wisdom acquired when a group engages in community-wide efforts. The inevitable challenges test endurance,
patience, and community collaboration.
The discoveries surfaced even in the challenges, have created a valuable
foundation of learning for the future of our community and the potential of
creating a work that enhances livability with a different approach.
How do you thank those who have invested time, energy, talent, finances and leadership? Thank the businesses, both for and nonprofit organizations who provided their employees the time a way from business needs to lead and participate in committees, events, and projects? Those who gave financially and continue to give as the work continues beyond the initiative of Vision 2020? We thank them best when we build upon the energy, ideas and lessons that they inspired.
The Hormel Foundation has been a central partner to many of the projects accomplished through the committees over the past seven years. The extent of resources that they have shared and support in moving ideas to realities is a testimony to what can happen when generous community members and forward thinkers collaborate at the table. It’s this type of intentional leadership that has inspired many to dream in fueling future initiatives and explore discoveries to continue the tradition of a community who looks forward, building on our strengths and the most valuable resource - our Austin area community members.
No one event could accomplish a big enough thank you nor could we identify all the individuals who have made up the collective accomplishments. A powerful thank you really comes in the form of seeing the community members, visitors and tourists utilizing the trails, waterways and the Rec Center. These will be reminders for generations to come of the commitment and forward thinking of so many.
Ongoing appreciation and thanks will inevitably show up in how we leverage all that has been accomplished and learned, both in projects that were completed and those explored yet not completed as planned. It’s that learning that will give us a historical viewpoint to build upon when engaging our community in authentic ways.
2020 Around the Corner
With 2020 around the corner the Vision 2020 Steering
Committee began exploring what might lie beyond 2020: exploring, interviewing and researching if
the work should continue. Asking key
questions like what is needed to connect community members in the work of
improving livability in the Austin area?
What could it look like and how might it function?
The exploration revealed that yes the work of revitalizing, discovering and investing to grow Austin in authentic ways needs to occur, but be accomplished in a way that is sustainable and consistent. Giving attention to ideas and needs surfaced from and aligned with local research then using a framework that is adaptable to meet the changing needs and opportunities in our community can offer a process and place for voices to be heard and potential projects to bloom.
A key step has been to connect the remaining active committees to organizations or initiatives with a related vision to assure the work moves forward in meaningful ways. A couple of examples are the Embrace and Maintain our Waterways Committee linking to the Cedar River Watershed District to continue the important work of maintaining and expanding the valuable waterways that surround the Austin area. Expanding Bike/Walk Trail System Committee is linking to the work with Mower Refreshed, a community-driven wellness initiative out of Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea-Austin and Mower County State-wide Health Program to assure work on the trail system continues not only in Austin but connecting to county wide trail systems and beyond.
This monumental initiative to engage community members in something bigger than themselves is a reminder of the power of community. The power of pausing to truly discover we have all we need to make Austin a place where improving livability for all is not only valued but placed into action. As we close this chapter, it’s taking that intentional collaboration that helped us to discover resources to get the work done into the future, beyond Vision 2020.
To all of those who participated in Vision 2020, we thank you for your amazing contributions.
There is more to accomplish, more improvements to tend to. We are an authentic community of people committed to building on our strengths and discovering ways to enhance livability for those who call Austin, MN home and those who are yet to discover this unique community with big heart nestled in southern Minnesota.
The Vision 2020 Steering Committee Members