Visioning a Better Future

visioning-group

What is Region 2020?

Region 2020 promotes local cooperation and citizen participation to increase standards of living in such areas as transportation, the environment, educational systems, housing as well as the arts.

Region 2020 is a citizen-driven organization. More than 5,000 citizens were involved in the process and helped to formulate Region 2020’s 34 goals and 217 strategies for implementation. The Region 2020 visioning project started in 1997 and encompasses a 12-county Central Alabama region: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cullman, Etowah, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, and Walker.

Working with community volunteers, Region 2020 first identified shared ideas about hopes and dreams for the region’s future, then translated those ideas into regional goals, related strategies and action steps.

Ever since, Region 2020 has acted as motivator, promoter and planner, working with both government and private sectors, along with citizens to help support the common goals. Region 2020 also has served as an incubator in recent years, helping its spin-off agencies such as the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham and the Housing Enterprise of Central Alabama get their start.

A non-profit organization, Region 2020 encourages communities to think and plan regionally in order to define their future, while maintaining local identities and characteristics unique to Central Alabama.

The strongest message that emerged from the Region 2020 process was an exhortation to citizens and leaders to recognize and protect the values and assets of the region, safely passing them on to future generations.

The Region 2020 motto is: “Building a better place to live.”

Region 2020 is a Citizen Driven Process.

Over 5,000 people participated in the process by providing ideas and insights. Every idea, goal, and strategy contained in this report came directly from the citizens of Region 2020.

The sheer number of participants, from all parts of the Central Alabama’ region, makes the resulting vision an accurate and realistic reflection of the wishes, dreams, and aspirations of the region’s residents.

Region 2020 started in the fall of 1997 with 500 blank sheets of 24″x 30″ white paper. Within weeks, those blank sheets of paper were filled with 4,727 ideas. These ideas were the result of 17 public meetings, in which over 1,800 people participated. A group of retired school teachers and librarians volunteered to sort the ideas into topic headings, e.g. education, transportation, government, and environment.

34 topics resulted from the sorting process. Following this, 800 citizens translated the ideas in each topic group into 34 goals and 217 strategies aimed at accomplishing these goals. At the vision Fair, 1,300 citizens, including several groups of students, suggested which of the 217 strategies should be implemented with the greatest urgency. In all, citizens participated in 24 public meetings.

In the fall of 1998, over 300 volunteers, divided into seven working groups, sifted through all of the information produced by citizens in the Region 2020 process and recommended the strategies and action steps included in this report. In the following pages you will find 30 Action Plans. These are condensed versions of extensive reports developed by the work groups in hundred of volunteer hours.

In addition to meeting and working group participants, over 1,000 volunteers from throughout the region have assisted Region 2020 with the program’s logistics as facilitators, as members of various action committees, and as meeting volunteers.

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