Vision 2030 looks forward

With final report ready, project outlines plans for future

Margaret Hair

— After two years of surveying, polling, researching and meeting, the Vision 2030 report is ready for its final presentation.

A final draft of the report, which sought to “define the future of the Yampa Valley,” will be presented to the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners on June 22. The report will be ready to go to print soon, and it should be available for Routt County residents by the end of the month, Vision 2030 Project Manager Tammie Delaney said.

The final report – which has been in the works since the beginning of the year and has been presented to the commissioners and to town boards in Hayden, Oak Creek, Yampa and Steamboat Springs – is “a guide for the community about our own community,” said Kathy Stokes, a Vision 2030 co-chairwoman.

“What’s wonderful about it is that now we feel very confident that we’ve heard from so many of the residents of Routt County, and their answers and issues and questions were all very similar,” Stokes said. “So we have good instruction for the future, and those ought to be used by everyone from government officials to interest groups in particular areas to regular citizens who are looking for a way to make a difference in the community.”

The survey

Surveys were created and distributed in April 2007. In November of that year, the project committee hosted roundtable discussions in North Routt, South Routt, Hayden and Steamboat Springs to identify what residents value the most. The surveys were completed by March 2008 with 1,200 residents responding. In the following months, 12 focus groups put together desired outcomes and action recommendations, and in November 2008, the project committee presented its findings to each area of the county, using keypad audience polling to validate the information.

The initial survey asked residents to define what they most value. Community ranked No. 1 for all regions, with 43 percent of Steamboat respondents listing it as their top value. Environment placed second for residents of North Routt and Steamboat. Other top-three values included heritage, friendliness, recreation, small-town feel and education.

Also included in the survey was a list of 21 aspects, which respondents ranked as most important, somewhat important or not important/threatened. More than 75 percent of respondents checked the “most important” option for clean environment, Yampa River, open space, scenic views, low crime rate and good education. Percentages were lower for the “most threatened” option, with more than 30 percent of respondents naming affordable housing, little traffic congestion, ranching and farming, open space and scenic views as our most threatened aspects.

Interest areas

Interest areas such as affordable housing, education, planning and sustainability are organized alphabetically. Each category includes desired outcomes and recommended actions or “possible ways in which these outcomes can be achieved.” The recommendations are outlined and given vague timelines, but the report does not give specific financial or planning suggestions.

“The reason we chose not to do that is things are going to change over the next 20 years,” said Marsha Daughenbaugh, a Vision 2030 co-chairwoman. “How things are funded now might not be the same as how things are funded 20 years down the road.”

As the project moves forward, the 30-person Vision 2030 Citizens’ Committee will transition into a stewardship committee, Delaney said. That group will be responsible for holding what organizers hope are quarterly meetings, designing project report cards and moving forward on long-term projects, she said.

“A lot of it is about people saying what they want to share for the future,” Delaney said. “And a lot of times when people can connect those visions, that’s when they can start to take action and make things happen.”

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