Community Visioning Sessions

Defining a vision for downtown is an essential part of the revitalization process and a step taken early in the process to build consensus and foster community engagement. When your community is new at implementing the Main Street Approach, a visioning session can provide a great insight on the community’s perspectives are, on needs and expectations about the revitalization, and help your board outline the appropriate set of priorities. If your organization has been proactively building their revitalization efforts for a number of years, a visioning session might be a great way to strengthen your community’s sense of ownership and interest in revitalization efforts. Strive to gather broad-base participation from all sectors within your community to ensure diverse perspectives. The agenda for the visioning session should be clear and simple, including a few good questions and plenty of time for facilitated group discussion. And be prepared to identify additional potential leaders and confirm their support timely after the visioning session.

The community visioning session in downtown Otsego during the baseline assessment was a great success. The group that participated was very diverse, in representation and in age. It was a nice surprise to see a handful of young students taking an interest in the development of their community. The National and Michigan Main Street Team facilitated the session dividing attendees into smaller groups to interact and discuss specific questions about their community and downtown. The attendees were very active and positive throughout the entire process, giving excellent ideas for the future and accurate observations of Otsego’s strengths and needs. It is clear that the community is aware that there is plenty of room to grow. They also realize that getting to their long term vision for the downtown will take hard work and passion. But the positive participation during the visioning session proved that this community has what it takes to take these visions to the next level.

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