Your Voice is Our Future: Community Launches Velocity2040 Visioning Process


What will the experience of living, working and learning in Chattanooga and Hamilton County look like over the next 20 years? A community-wide survey asking every resident to share their dreams, concerns and opinions about the future opened this week for input.

You can take the survey here. 

“We need everyone’s thoughts to develop a new vision for all of us,” said Warren E. Logan, Jr., President & CEO, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. “We invite faith-based organizations, educational institutions, businesses and all area communities to join us by encouraging people to respond to the survey.”

“Inclusion, equity and diversity principles are critically important to Chattanooga’s future,” Logan said. “I‘m confident we’ll come together to work together to create a better future for all.”

You are invited to share here: Velocity2040.com. Organizers encourage you to share the survey with friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. The survey begins now and ends Nov. 1, 2018.

“Now is the time to really talk about what we want our future to be,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “People in Hamilton County and Chattanooga enjoy a 40-year history of making a brighter future a reality for our children and grandchildren. We worked together to complete the Tennessee Riverwalk – a 30-year process. Ten years ago we worked together to welcome Volkswagen, one of our major employers. Now is the time to dream big again.”

City of Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said the Innovation District and our revitalized downtown are among the many of examples of what can be accomplished when we join together, and he predicts the people of our city and county will offer many more ideas.

“Other cities come here to study our successful ideas and take what they learn to re-invent their own futures. We’ve earned national and international respect and attention – and it’s time to keep our momentum going with new ideas, new input and a new round of imagining our future together. It’s time to listen and to create an achievable and resilient plan together,” Berke said.

More than 150 residents gathered in July and August in two day-long sessions to talk about the future and develop information for the survey. This involved more than 100 community organizations and employers, including lead partners:

  • Benwood Foundation
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport
  • City of Chattanooga
  • Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga      
  • EPB    
  • Hamilton County
  • La Paz
  • United Way of Greater Chattanooga      
  • Urban League of Greater Chattanooga      

as well as contributing partners ...

  • Barge Design Solutions
  • Center Centre
  • Chattanooga Gas
  • Chattanooga Times Free Press
  • Elder’s Ace Hardware
  • First Tennessee
  • Food City
  • SunTrust Bank

“We have inherited an incredible legacy from those who dreamed a bigger dream for Hamilton County and Chattanooga. Now it’s our turn to do the same for our next two generations,” said Christy Gillenwater, President and CEO, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re on a community-wide mission to enrich our people and ensure opportunity for all,” said Lesley Scearce, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Chattanooga. “We must engage every Chattanooga resident to understand our collective needs, desires and opportunities. Velocity2040 is a movement to do that. Together, we’ll plan for our community’s growth and invite all of our neighbors, businesses and leaders to create and own the outcome.”

Background

In 2018, community leaders and volunteers invested more than 3,100 hours in a bold, ambitious plan for Chattanooga and Hamilton County’s future – looking at the next 20 years. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and a steering committee comprised of community, county, city and business leaders are conducting this visioning process for economic prosperity for Chattanooga and Hamilton County by looking at our future over the next 20 years. The first phase of the vision process, facilitated by Rebecca Ryan, APF, concludes with a report by the first week of December.

This vision then informs the work of an economic development strategic planning consultancy, engaged by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, whose team members will guide the process of creating a 5-year implementation plan for economic development and talent strategies.

History: There have been several community-wide visioning efforts over the past 40 years. Some were area-specific. Some were community-wide. This one’s different because it’s 2018 and while many people might agree that we still have problems to solve, now we have new facts and new tools. Most important – more groups and people are working together now and organizers are putting inclusion, diversity and equity first.

Chattanooga leader volunteers and economic development professionals completed a visioning process in the 1980s and most – if not all – of the ideas from that process have been completed. In terms of regional planning, Thrive 2055 issued The Capstone Report in 2015 summarizing a long-term, 16-county visioning process and the Thrive Regional Partnership continues the work today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Velocity2040

Q. Where do I find the survey? When does it start and when does it end?

A. Velocity2040.com. The survey begins Oct. 2 and ends Nov. 1, 2018.

Q. When will the vision be finished?

A. Already, leaders and volunteers have invested more than 3,100 hours in the process. After community residents complete the survey and the report is completed, we anticipate that a final vision document will be complete around the first week in December. And then the hard work begins…

Q. How do I get involved in the bold vision part?

A. Start by thinking, dreaming big. Think about the kind of future we want for ourselves and our children and grand-children. Then take the community survey. The questions ask about things that we expect to happen in the future. For example, we know our community is adding more people every day. And, we know we have more jobs than we have people right now to fill them. We also know there are not enough people with the skills needed in the places they are needed. That’s only one example. We also know health is a big concern for many – as well as how to get from place to place – school, work, places of worship, grocery stores. There’s a place on the website to share how you can be reached.

Q. What if I have ideas that the survey doesn’t ask about?

A. There’s a place on the survey to say what’s most important to you – or what you see as the first place to start. Please share your ideas. This information will help community volunteers decide where to keep up the work they’ve been doing and where to make new plans. Your idea might be the very one that helps the right people get together to work toward something new and exciting that solves a problem or that creates something our community has never thought of before.

Q. I’ve heard about other community surveys here. What about those? Is this different?

A. There have been several community-wide visioning efforts over the past 40 years. Some were area-specific. Some were community-wide. This one’s different because it’s 2018 and while many people agree we still have problems to solve, now we have new facts and new tools. Most important – more people are working together now and organizers are putting inclusion, diversity and equity first.

Q. What comes next after the survey?

A. After Nov. 1, survey question answers will be shared with everyone – our entire community – in a report. We will share the big bold ideas our community wants to come together to make happen. Volunteers and groups will then work together to come up with plans of how to do the hard work of building partnerships, developing implementation strategies, and aligning resources to begin working towards our shared vision for economic prosperity. A long-term vision requires long-term commitment to build a future we want.

Q. I heard about another consultant and another survey? How many surveys are there?

A. Yes, there will be another survey. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce will release another community-wide survey as part of its strategic plan. This one will focus on implementing job creation plans and talent development portions of the community vision.

Q. Who’s paying for these surveys and plans?

A. Generous businesses, civic and non-profit organizations in Chattanooga and Hamilton County.   

You can take the survey here.