Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Value of Vision, Part 4 - The Results

And here we are.  The Downtown Visioning Session was by all accounts a smash success, but now it was time for the hard work to begin.  After all the kudos were shared and high fives all around, we were left with a ridiculous number of poster size sticky notes of ideas and 66 pages of raw, handwritten data from the evening. With a deadline to present our initial findings to City Council on the horizon, we decided to tackle the giant sticky notes first.  These were the notes that each table completed with their Top 3 answers to each of our Visioning Session Questions and we felt that these would give us a general temperature of what the attendees were thinking.

Question #1 -
What Redevelopment Opportunities Do You See Downtown?
  •  Movie Theater/Live Theatre/Entertainment
  • Connections of Trails/Waterways to Downtown
  • Town Square/Gathering Places

Question #2 - What Would Bring You Downtown?
  • Entertainment/Theatre/Music/Cultural Activities
  • Enhanced Retail Mix
  • Expanded Store Hours

Question #3 - What Is The Asset That Makes A Downtown Vibrant?
  • Sense of Community/Identity
  • Diversity - Cultural, Economic & Inter-Generational
  • Gathering Spaces/Town Square

Clearly, there are a lot of common themes throughout the questions.  Additionally, we have dug into the 66 pages, breaking the data into categories by question and the results confirmed much of what is listed above.  Without oversimplifying things, people like our downtown and they enjoy coming here, but they need more reasons to come here.  That's what we needed to hear, and now we can get to work.

So what's next?  Currently, the Steering Committee (our amazing Community Development Committee) is putting together a master document, a Gantt Chart of sorts, of all of our findings from the Top 3 Answers, the 66 pages of notes and an analysis of the fantastic video of the event, captured by our local cable network.  While I find the video fascinating, not everyone might have two hours to watch this cinematic masterpiece, so we also created a 6 minute synopsis video that captures the flavor and essence of the evening.

Downtown Visioning Session - Full Video
Downtown Visioning Session - Synopsis Video

Most importantly, in hosting this Visioning Session, we have an obligation to the attendees and our community at large to take this data and make something happen.  We didn't do this because it was fun or a great way to spend a Wednesday night.  We did it because we believed (and still do) that it was vital for our community.  I'll be the first one to say that we have a pretty great community.  I'm also the first one to say that we can always be better.  And looking towards the future, seeking to maintain the vibrancy that we currently enjoy is the best way to put Rochester on that path.

Stay tuned...

The Downtown Geek

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