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  • Writer's pictureCameron Cochran

Focus on collaboration, communication

Posted April 1, 2009

From Staff Reports

Wilson County is now three years into the Wilson 20/20 Visioning process, and, while it is nowhere near complete, it has been a process worth going through and that deserves the public’s continued support.

By focusing on communication and collaboration, the 20/20 initiative has been able to bring disparate parts of the community together to talk about problems common to all of us.

That doesn’t mean it has fixed all of these problems — it hasn’t — or that it doesn’t need more people to come to the table and join the discussion — it does — but it has moved the needle on several issues and been influential in guiding city and county leaders’ thoughts on many more.

Roger Lentz, the city’s planning director and leader of the 20/20 managed growth team, points to issues such as making sidewalks a requirement in new residential areas and developing a citywide bicycle plan as issues that all promoted more heavily after the 20/20 process started.

“There’s certainly some things we would have done without Wilson 20|20, and there are things that Wilson 20|20 has probably put more focus on,” Lentz said in a story Saturday on the 20/20 process. “The city would have done a comprehensive plan. What Wilson 20|20 has done is set the direction for where we’re going with the comprehensive plan. We’re using Wilson 20|20 as the basis for our work.”

Perhaps more than anything, however, the 20/20 process has brought together a number of different groups that for many different reasons never really talked with each other.

The lack of communication between the city and county has been a frequent source of criticism in the Wilson community, but many leaders say that lack of communication stretched well below that level as well.

Jack Wiggins, who has worked on Wilson economic development issues for a number of years, said he believes the greatest accomplishment has been the coming together of different organizations.

“For the first time, everybody is pulling together,” Wiggins said. “I think the level of collaboration amongst government entities, education, nonprofits and overall citizenry is all higher now because of Wilson 20|20. I really sense the community has come together on a common vision.”

That is a positive outcome, no matter what else gets accomplished, and is one that needs to be fostered at all levels of the community, whether 20/20 is involved or not.


More opportunities to get involved

In June, Wilson 20/20 leaders plan to start seeking more input from the Wilson community through an interactive survey and several community listening sessions. The surveys will be available online at the 20/20 Web site, , and plans include printing surveys in The Wilson Daily Times. Residents will be able to provide input on how they think the Wilson 20/20 process is unfolding, and new ideas will be accepted. The listening sessions will be offered in different areas and allow for the same feedback. Wilson 20/20 leaders will provide regular updates to the Wilson City Council and Wilson County Board of Commissioners and an annual video report will be available for the public.

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