Iowa's Living Roadways (ILR) Community Visioning kicked off the 2018 program with 10 new communities during the ILR Annual Celebration and Luncheon on November 9, 2017.
Coon Rapids, Corning, Decorah, Forest City, Glidden, Graettinger, Moville, Peterson, Plymouth, and Wapello were selected to participate in Community Visioning program in a competitive application process in late September 2017.
To qualify for the visioning program, a community must have a population of fewer than 10,000 residents, existing transportation-related issues, and a committee of volunteers willing to dedicate their time and talent to the visioning process.
This award-winning program integrates technical landscape planning and design techniques with sustainable community action to assist community leaders and volunteers in making sound and meaningful decisions about the local landscape.
In the morning of November 10, steering committee members from the 2018 communities participated in the ILR Annual Celebration sessions and had the opportunity to mingle with volunteers from past communities, view the 2017 community concept presentation boards, and get a glimpse of the possibilities for improvement available through the Community Visioning program.
Following the ILR Luncheon, the 2018 committees engaged in orientation activities conducted by Iowa State University (ISU) Community Visioning program staff. Program director Julia Badenhope presented an overview of the visioning program. Committee members also learned strategies for engaging with residents throughout the process to facilitate local buy in for proposed projects.
Participants became acquainted with their Trees Forever field coordinators, who will guide them through the visioning planning process, as well as the private-sector consultants who will develop conceptual designs for each community.
Trees Forever field coordinators led their committees through a mapping exercise during which participants identified important local destinations and landmarks in and around the communities. Part of the 2018 kick-off program also included training committee members to post information and upload photos to their respective community web pages.
The visioning steering committees will begin meeting with their Trees Forever field coordinators early in 2018. The process will continue through fall, culminating at the 2018 ILR Annual Celebration and Luncheon in November.
Community Visioning is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach and Trees Forever, an Iowa-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. Since 1996, 225 Iowa communities have benefited from Community Visioning.