Grand Vision Project Kicks Off for Hall County

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Planning for the future. That's what Grand Island and Hall County have been working towards. After a year and a half of talks and plans, the Grander Vision Project kicked off Monday morning.

Dozens of community leaders met to discuss some guidelines and make some preliminary decisions on the Hall County Grander Vision Project.

"It involves a pretty open ended, public process with public meetings and online surveys and a variety of tools to get input from the community concerning what kind of things they want to see happen in the future. It's really a broad visioning effort to really set this area forward in the future," said Britt Palmberg, the Project Manager of Design Workshop, a company based out of Denver.

Palmberg said planning for the future is necessary to get Grand Island where it wants to be.

He said, "Towns that really succeed here in the United States have a plan for the future in terms of their vision and they go from the vision to more defined action steps and they get things done, they have actions lists and they go forward. Grand Island here is a town that wants to be one of the best cities in Nebraska and really the whole Midwest and this whole central part of the country, and the vision plan, a town like this does this so that they really can kind of set up a road map for the future and get things done."

After the Steering Committee decided on a logo and tag line ("Your voice. Your plan. Our future.)" for the project they discussed how to make sure this project isn't just for Grand Island, but for all Hall County.

"We not only maintain our own communities, but we do a lot of work and play in Grand Island and so it's important for our whole county to work together so our vision is known," said Charity Adams, the Community Development and Marketing Director for the village of Cairo. "So we really need to work together so that our all vision is taken care of in this program."

And leaders want to convey that message all residents, including those who don't speak English.

"I think the major groups that we have in Grand Island would be the Anglo, the Latino Hispanic, African, Asian communities," said Interpreter and Translator Carlos Barcenas. "That's what makes up, for the most part, our community. It is important that we have their point of view. We see the businesses, we see them in the streets, we see them in our communities and our churches, we need to have equal representation."

This project is based on bettering the quality of life for at least the next decade. The next step after Monday's kickoff is a consulting team reviewing existing conditions in June and July.

Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek said, "We're going to go ahead and make sure our facilitators really know our community, the know the different entities, what makes us tick. Based on that they can do their homework, but bottom line is we need to go ahead and reach out to each person, each walk of life, each voice is important. Now we go to work."

The Grander Vision Project is set to be completed in October. A website for the project should be going live shortly. It will be available in English, Spanish, Somalian, and Sudanese. Click the link to see the website.