JEFFERSON-If you want to make sure that the Ashe County of tomorrow is better than the Ashe County of today, you’ll want to take time to attend Ashe Vision’s Nov. 29 public meeting in Jefferson.
It’s the next step in the group’s long-term strategic planning process, but it needs plenty of public input before it moves forward. You can offer your feedback to the Ashe Vision team at 6:30 p.m. at Jefferson United Methodist Church on Tuesday.
Ashe Vision President Josh Roten said the group has sifted through significant amounts of data since the group last met publicly this summer and is ready to present that data to the public.
“We’ve got beaucoups of information and we’re going to have members of the Ashe Vision board presenting what we feel are kind of our four topics that are going to make up our framework that we’ll then turn into the strategic plan,” Roten said. “The public will be able to see what we’ve done to date, offer their own take and then we’ll use that to develop what we’re going to do going forward.”
Ashe Vision officially got off the ground in 2015, according Josh Roten, president of Ashe Vision, but the group can trace its roots back farther to a pep talk given by Blue Ridge Electric CEO and Doug Johnson at a chamber of commerce luncheon in March 2014.
Johnson reflected on the success Caldwell County has enjoyed in recent years thanks to its own strategic planning process and reminded leaders that Ashe must create its own opportunities to grow, listing the New River, Wilkes Community College, the Blue Ridge Parkway and our friendly, caring and reliable citizens among our greatest assets.
The group launched informally with just a handful of members in the months following Johnson’s remarks, but officially formed Ashe Vision last spring with a 21-member board, according to Roten.
The group also hired Chris Aycock, the president of Raleigh-based consulting firm The Aycock Group, to help develop the overall plan for Ashe Vision and to help lead the group through its community meeting sessions which kicked off in early June.
After slowly building steam, the project hosted its first community meetings, including three public forum and a fourth designed to gain feedback from local industry leaders, earlier this summer.
Roten said Aycock will be on hand Nov. 29, to break the audience into smaller groups to discuss the group’s main topics. The audience will then reconvene and the points highlighted by the smaller groups will be added to Ashe Vision’s data.
“That’ll give us feedback, but it’ll also allow folks in the room to get a feel for what they’d like to be a part of,” Roten said. “When we break into action groups in the coming months, maybe someone wants to take part in the group that’ll be focused on aging. We don’t want to make somebody feel obligated to take part, but we want as much engagement as we can get.”
Following the meeting, Roten said Ashe Vision’s board will enter a retreat in coming weeks to develop a concrete framework for it’s future plans.
“Hopefully, even with it being in the middle of the holidays, we’ll have our strategic plan well underway and formally introduced by the first of the year,” Roten said. “That’s the plan.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.