Our View: Vision for the Valley goes from vision to reality

OUR VIEW

September 27, 2009 

Are you passionate about helping school kids improve their math and science skills? Are you interested in helping senior citizens live healthier and more independent lives? Are you willing to help the Treasure Valley identify and attract jobs in high-growth economic sectors?

If so, some dedicated volunteers need your help. They have good ideas and a good plan. But they can't make it happen alone.

Since January, a steering committee has met to discuss the Vision for the Valley - and translate vision into action. Its job was to be bold but realistic, to come up with measurable projects that will make a difference.

This strategic plan of action, and its 23 recommendations, is the result of the committee's hard work.

The plan echoes back to the origins of the Vision for the Valley editorial project. The Statesman launched Vision for the Valley in August 2008, hoping to encourage community leaders to make smart decisions that will position the Valley for the future, allowing our region to rebound when the economy rebounds.

The downturn weighed on our minds 13 months ago. It weighed on the minds of more than 2,400 people last winter, when they took an online Vision for the Valley survey. Predictably, the economy came in as their top concern.

The steering committee listened. Committee members recognized that the Valley's other priorities - from strong schools to well-funded transportation to thriving nonprofits - hinge on a vibrant and diverse economy. As a result, the economy is the first priority in the strategic plan.

In the interest of coming up with a realistic and actionable plan, the steering committee had to make some tough calls and some painful omissions. Not everything made the list. We would hope everyone can find something on the list that they can support.

The Vision for the Valley project has been inclusive from the beginning and will remain that way through implementation. The Statesman has sought volunteer help and community leaders' advice. The Vision for the Valley online survey was open to anyone who wished to log on and weigh in.

And POPULUS, the Boise research company that conducted the first survey, will begin a new survey today, launching a yearlong Best Places to Live program. This first survey will focus on citizen satisfaction - with local elected officials, with state and federal governments and with newspapers. Subsequent surveys will concentrate on topics at the heart of Vision for the Valley, such as the economy, health care and education. It's an easy way for anyone to help fit the Vision for the Valley project to the community's needs.

We're grateful to everyone who has gotten involved so far in Vision for the Valley. We encourage you to stay involved, whether you fill out a survey or volunteer for a project. Make a difference. Take the next step.

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