Vision Worthington has end in sight

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Vision Worthington is entering its final phase of gathering information to help draw a road map to guide the city's future.

Members of the group will send thousands of mailers to 6,000 Worthington addresses as they seek comments on up to eight mission statements finalized by focus groups, said Joe Sherman, chair of the city's community-visioning committee.

Over the past several months, residents have met through virtual focus groups to decide the key issues the city should consider, Sherman said.

The original plan was to go door to door, but the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic sidelined that effort, he said.

"I personally feel we have heard the community, as this was our goal," Sherman said. "Our role was to reach out to the community, and the committee has done a really nice job of this."

The participation led to many potential areas of consideration, such as inclusivity and diversity, city services, innovative economic-development opportunities and the "Worthington Mile," which would connect Old Worthington to the Shops at Worthington Place mall, according to the city's website, worthington.org.

Meanwhile, the group has posted messages throughout the city directing residents to the visioning committee's website, visionworthington.org, and has used such social-media platforms as Facebook and Snapchat.

After residents return the mailers with their comments, the visioning committee will begin to organize the information into an iron-clad document by the beginning of November, Sherman said.

The committee plans to meet quarterly to check on the city's progress on achieving the public's goals for Worthington's future, he said.

"This will give council some direction when we're done," Sherman said.

Worthington City Council President Bonnie Michael said she and her colleagues "very much look forward to the results, to process on how to allocate funds and staff time to the most important items."

"I think that COVID-19 definitely made things much more difficult," Michael said. "That said, I think the visioning committee has tried to reach out to the public to get input and ideas and set up virtual opportunities for input."

The community-visioning process began last year and has continued through 2020.

On June 24, 2019, council members chose 13 residents to serve on the community-visioning committee, and less than a month later, they selected Poggemeyer Design Group as the consultant for the process. In October, council members approved $140,000 to cover the scope of work for Poggemeyer, according to city spokesperson Anne Brown.

The residents and the consultant firm were tasked with gathering information from the community to guide policy and development decisions for the next 10 to 15 years, Michael told ThisWeek previously.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary