A year ago, a group of community leaders in the Fox Cities decided to begin an exercise to look towards the future.
That’s when Imagine Fox Cities, an intentionally-inclusive, community-wide visioning exercise began.
Imagine Fox Cities will use a variety of surveys and community listening sessions to look at different aspects of life in the Fox Cities.
Its ultimate goal is to make sure that everyone understands the opportunities, lives well and contributes to the region — particularly those who may have not seen themselves as essential to the regions’ success.
“Imagine Fox Cities will learn from what the community shares to decide priorities for the next several decades, to guide planning, to identify resources that improve well-being and to help capitalize on all the things going on in the area in a strategic way,” said Dr. Kimberly Barrett, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Lawrence University.
“We want the process to be inclusive and to set the stage for 50 years about priorities to increase the lives of everyone within the Fox Cities,” Barrett said in an interview. “At a time when we are very divided and segmented in our approach, we really want to make sure that we raise all boats.”
When asked what is unique about Imagine Fox Cities’ approach, Barret said, “The coordinating team is deliberate in ensuring that [this process] is diverse. We are reaching out to hundreds of groups for their input then convening to hear what we have come up with to inform the shaping of this shared vision for the Fox Cities for the next several decades. That’s what makes this unique. There are no pre-conceived ideas what the key values on which this initiative will move forward.”
Imagine Fox Cities is a four-phase exercise: engaging and discovering, discerning and reflecting, convening to share its findings, and action. It is currently in phase one.
Many businesses and organizations are involved with Imagine Fox Cities community visioning project, including Appleton Alliance Church, Appleton Public Library, Bank of Kaukauna, Boldt, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, enVision Performance Solutions, Generative Local Community Institute, Kimberly-Clark, Lawrence University, Mike Weller & Associates, Miller Electric Mfg, NAI Pfefferle, Red Shoes, ThedaCare, Thrivent, United Way Fox Cities and US Venture.
Dr. Barrett concluded, “I am excited. It is a good time to be in this area. It has unbelievable potential.”
For more information on getting involved or if you’re interested in hosting or participating in a community listening session or filling out a survey, visit imaginefoxcities.com.