Results Community Documentation Analysis October, 2009
The Vision for Archuleta Community Work Group
I’m here as project leader for the Vision for Archuleta Community Work Group. I was encouraged by several government officials to consider leading an effort to create a vision. So in May I assembled a team of nine interested, community-neutral citizens to pursue developing a shared vision for all.
The reason we’re here today is here to share results of the work we’ve be undertaking, and which we presented to the County just a couple of weeks ago. We’d also like to invite the Town to join our vision effort by providing representation on our Work Group.
Do We Have a Vision?
I’ve been here over 7 years, and we’ve been talking that entire time about what the vision for our community as a place to live, work, and play should be. It seems everyone here is looking to create a vision, and there are many organizations that are creating their own for lack of an overall community vision. There’s been a lot of visioning and planning work done in Archuleta in the past, but citizens are disheartened because they don’t see that much has happened to bring the efforts to fruition.
Phase 1: Research Existing Documentation
Some people believe we already have a vision—that it’s in the accumulation of documents sitting on the government’s shelves….
So our team’s first effort was to review the existing documentation…
Existing Research Shows
•The team began a search of 9 years’ of community documentation—41 reports/surveys/etc.— which resulted in amassing some 300 relevant points of information. •We sorted through, categorized, and culled a set of key findings. Then interpreted them into what we call “vision elements.” •We did NOT look at assessing the current situation at this stage. •What we found first is a set of definite values that drive people’s thinking ….
Basic Values Set The Scene
The values people hold dear are very basic: â€˘At the top of the list: beautiful scenery, mountains, rivers, open spaces and other exceptional natural resources
â€˘The area is seen as a beautiful, recreational destination â€˘An escape from stress, congestion, and weather
People cherish •The quaint, friendly small-town atmosphere •The relaxed, slower lifestyle •The diversity of the population in age, culture, and socio-economics
Four Target Audiences of Place Residents
•We considered the results in terms of the four target audiences of “place” (a city, a state, a region, a country)
Infrastructure & Basic Services
•The most prominent area for the data centered around the needs of residents, especially. •Education •Health care •Security/Emergency services •Child care •Youth Programs •The environment •Affordable housing •Roads •Most of these apply to 2nd home owners, tourists and business owners as well: •Talking about infrastructure and basic services, most of which would be critical factors in any town or city in the world.
Thrive, Not Just Survive!
•There was significant attention to improving the lot of workers, a sub-segment of our residential market. •People come here thinking they’ve arrived at heaven. They decide to stay, but then economic reality sets in. •Many end up working 2 and 3 jobs, and heaven becomes Purgatory. They want to thrive, not just survive.
Tourism & Attractions
•The next area dominating the data converges not surprisingly on Tourism and Attractions. •The recreational aspects of the area are important to tourists, but also to residents and we would assume to businesses considering relocation. •The key vision element here would be that we offer a wide range of year-round outdoor recreation and vacation opportunities to multi-generational visitors and residents. •But we need to expand our product/service offerings to include indoor/evening/family and youth-related activities. •The hot springs and related health & wellness businesses are major draws, but •The “quality” of hospitality offerings needs to be improved •Other attractions to enhance/add on– trails, parks, meeting space, shopping
•Beyond tourist market, the next set of vision elements concentrated on the business target audience…
•There was not a lot of data on business •The Targeted Industry Study identified 7 opportunistic industries Aviation Back office/Call Centers Health & Wellness High Tech/Information Technology Light Manufacturing Professional Services Renewable Energy •Lone eagle and high flier entrepreneurs comprise the bulk of our private industry – We need to help them grow and succeed •The Vision Team’s findings emphasize that we want to recruit businesses that fit with our values, that can live with the lifestyle we have to offer •Another industry that the Community Vision Council had also identified was Outdoor Recreation Training
That brings us to the 4th target audience that a “place” can serve:
Develop Our “Export” Market
•Here, we need to think outside the box… •Targeting customers of our products and services who live beyond our county boundaries Reach out regionally, nationally, globally •We already have some businesses heading down this path (Parelli, Growing Spaces, Boss Tin, etc.) •Can we become known for something beyond tourism, as other “places” have done Olathe corn and peaches San Luis Valley potatoes Gunnison natural meats Maybe something like eco-green products and services… •Educate our businesses of the need to go beyond our community boundaries, because this is where the greatest opportunity for direct-based income lies—meaning dollars coming in from outside the community. •A thought: Expand the role of the Chamber or create a dedicated agency or association (e.g., Dairymen’s), or recruit brokers to represent and promote our products/services to people “out there.”
Arts & Culture-Untapped Potential!
•Residents and visitors alike are interested in arts and culture. •In the rating criteria for “places,” arts & culture are always a major amenity for attracting new businesses, residents, and tourists. •We have a flourishing arts community here in Archuleta – an asset that we need to take advantage of!!! •There are numerous reports on the positive contribution the arts make to economic development in rural communities across the nation.
Collaborate with Nearby Communities
•Then looking at the data from another point of view, we saw a hole—an area of opportunity barely touched upon… “Collaborating” (working to achieve mutual success) with nearby communities. •We are not in the league of competing with the big guys—we don’t have our own ski mountain in this community-- nor a train. •We can provide innovative and complementary products and services that might fit within a regional package. We have to get creative. •Collaboration buys more than competition does. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Do We Have A Vision of What We Want To Be?
•As we stated, we found what you might call the “core elements” of a vision for any community •We did not find a vision of who we are and where we want to be in some given timeframe in the near or long-term future •Using the analogy of building a house….
Analogy: Building“Vision” a House Use Rudimentary for Direction
•You build a house based on a set of blueprints. •The carpenters know where the struts and walls go. •The electricians know where to put outlets and electrical wires. •The plumbers know where to put the drain pipes. •All based on the blueprints. •But what is the blueprint based on?....
•On the design—the vision of what the house will be! •We need to know whether we’re building a log cabin, a Santa Fe adobe, a New England Cape… •And what is the purpose of the house—primary residence, second home/vacation get-away.? Is it just the two of us or will we welcome the kids and their families when they come….? •Is Archuleta’s vision to become An adventure vacation destination? A horsemen’s mecca? A back-office haven? An art community? A hub of Eco-Green innovation? Some or all of the above? •This is the key strategic initiative we need to address. •We need to decide who we are and where we want to be in the future so that like building a log cabin, we can align resources appropriately to achieve our goals. We then can say “no” when the salesman who sells adobe comes knocking at our door, and “yes” when the log cabin representative does her sales pitch.
•We need to build our vision on something that offers something different than other small rural mountain communities. •We have tried to build a brand image—”What’s Your Rush” and “Refreshingly Authentic,” but •A brand image is not a vision. Coke is a brand. The Coca-Cola Company is a global leader in beverages with over 3000 brands and a mission to “refresh the world.” •A vision is brought to life through the execution of a brand image. When we have our vision, we will be able to better build our brand image. •What is the vision of our community as a place to live, work, AND play in?
What Are Our Choices?
•We 3 choices for a vision for the Archuleta Community: Do nothing Start to build a vision from ground zero Work with what we have •We all know the status quo won’t work •Starting from scratch doesn’t make sense More time More money Repetition •The only thing that makes sense is to use what we already have and enhance….
Core Is Already on the Shelf
•We have a set of rudimentary vision elements •They will meet the needs of a broad spectrum of the population •Most of the vision elements identified are already part of existing plans, especially: The Town Comprehensive Plan/Downtown Master Plan 2008 Region 9 Strategy
We propose the following next steps in the vision processâ€Ś
“Current Situation” Analysis
•Analyze the current situation, in light of: •
Internal factors—the inside looking at ourselves, and
External factors, to get an outside/looking-in perspective
Target Market Analysis
Some of this information is right on our shelves o Our population’s demographics o Enhanced Enterprise Zone o 60% Out-of-county property owners
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT)
What are the opportunities for innovation/threats to our vibrancy? These come from Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political Factors out there that we may or may not be able to control.
Trends and forces will shape our future and are critical to establishing our vision and creating the plans to get to the future as a community.
Collecting and analyzing this information will set the scene for the next step, the Vision Team is proposing….
Creative Problem Solving
â€˘A different approachâ€”like that recently used in the Geothermal Greenhouse Project. â€˘Pull together about 20 people representing key groups and organizations (including elected officials, private industry, local civic organizations, key landowners, and investors) to participate in a one-day structured, creative brainstorming session to craft several compelling and energizing vision scenarios (possibilities) for an ideal future and identity.
Vision Process 1
• Research Existing Data
• Identify Vision Elements
• Conduct “Current Situation” Analysis
• Draft Several Vision Alternatives
• Request Community Opinions/Ideas
• Decide Final Vision
• Compare to Current Situation/Identify Gaps
• Identify Priority Areas to Address
• Update Community Strategic Plans
•Here’s the broader picture of the proposed work flow. •We’ve already completed the first two steps. •We are now working on Steps 3 & 4. •We think this approach is innovative, unbiased, and will bring about a shared vision with community buy-in. •One we hope will be supported, implemented, and championed by all the leaders of the Archuleta community.
If We Do Not Change Our Direction, We are Likely to End Up Where We Are Headed.