04 October, 2014

Will St. Albans Choose An Intentional Future Or Will We Wait For An Unchosen Future To Happen To Us?

A visioning project doesn't have to start with a meeting or a series of meetings at which citizens get to publicly share how they'd like to see their city improve but , if the organizers of that visioning project want to get the citizens engaged and "bought in" to it, that's exactly how it will start. That's how the two visioning projects I was involved in started. In 1991 Lexington Mayor, Pam Miller, hired a consulting firm to lead the "Speak Out Lexington" visioning project and in 2008 Lexington Mayor, Jim Newberry, asked a member of his staff to head up "Destination 2040." In both cases, the city of Lexington did a great job of soliciting the input of "average citizens" by asking trained facilitators to lead public meetings at churches, businesses, schools, subdivision clubhouses and many other venues. This raw data became the stuff of Lexington's long range planning.

Unfortunately, there aren't many city governments leading their communities in such visioning projects which may be why The West Virginia Center for Civic Life has been offering workshops on how "average citizens" can convene and facilitate such visioning projects. I attended the Charleston workshop a few weeks ago where a team of trained, experienced facilitators demonstrated how to get a roomful of people thinking and talking about how we would like to improve our cities, how we would like to create an intentional future that is brighter, more prosperous and more livable than the kind of future that may otherwise happen to us if we don't plan. 

These visioning projects are being offered under the moniker "What's Next, WV?" and attendees are encouraged to convene meetings in their own cities for the purpose of discussing 3 big questions: 1. "Where are we now?" 2. "Where do we want to go?" 3. "How will we get there?" You can download the complete discussion guide at :

If you think the city of St. Albans needs to have a visioning project where we plan our intentional future instead of waiting for some random future to happen to us, please, do two things: 1. Join a "What's Next, St. Albans?" discussion group on Facebook  or Linkedin and 2. Tell your city councilperson. 

What's next, St. Albans? Do you want to plan what's next or do you want to trust dumb luck to give us the future we want? Tell us at What's Next, St. Albans discussion groups on Facebook and Linkedin.

Here are the links:


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