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Community Development - Visioning
by Yelena Mitrofanova, Extension Educator

Listening Session in Bennet, Nebraska

Community Listening Session: Bennet, Nebraska

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What is Visioning?

  • A process by which community defines the future it wants

  • A citizen-based process to identify core community values, goals and strategies

  • It is a foundation to develop a community comprehensive or strategic plan

  • A process that identifies desirable changes for the future

  • A process that visualizes what community Could be like or Should be like in 10-15 years

Why Visioning?

  • Emphasizes community assets rather than needs

  • Assesses community options and opportunities on the basis of shared purposes and values

  • Stresses early and continuous public involvement in the process

  • A visioning process brings community together as people recognize their shared values and purposes; creates a sense of ownership in community residents and serves as a foundation to comprehensive plan

When is Visioning Process needed?

  • When there is a confusion about where the community is heading
  • When your community does not have agreement on such issues as growth and change
  • When there is lack of hope and the future looks dim

What Visioning is NOT:

  • Not a land use planning, or substitute for it

  • Not a comprehensive planning by itself; but within a comprehensive planning process, visioning could be used as a consensus-building technique

  • It is not about people surrendering their individual dreams; visioning builds a shared set of standards and values

Visioning Process Steps:

  • First Town Hall Meeting: 
    • a) Educate public about the Visioning Process;
    • b) Form Task Groups: Logistics, Communication, Research
  • UNL Staff conduct Listening Sessions and share the report with the public
  • Second Town Hall meeting:
    • a) Public report;
    • b) Priorities on issues & strategies;
    • c) Visioning
  • Comprehensive plan by Planning & Zoning Committee - incorporation of Visioning statement into comprehensive plan

What are the results of Visioning?

  • An overall community vision statement

  • Better communication lines developed within the community

  • Context for consideration and adoption of long-range goals and related policies

  • Citizens feel they are in control and that their input is meaningful; community residents can make sure that the comprehensive plan addresses the issues raised from the visioning and addresses how to achieve the vision

  • Visioning creates excitement in community residents about the planning process. People like to know that they can be a part of their community in meaningful way

What are the implementation costs?

  • Mileage reimbursement for UNL facilitators
  • Two Town Hall meetings (snack, advertising costs, child care fees, etc.)
  • Postage (announcement cards, etc.)
  • Facilitator's fee (preparation for two town hall meetings, printing of materials, inviting a key speaker, etc.) 

For more information, contact:

Yelena Mitrofanova, Extension Educator
e-mail: ymitrofanova2@unl.edu
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68528.
Phone: 402-441-7180

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