Officials see implementation as next focus of Worthington's community-visioning initiative

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group

Worthington’s community-visioning initiative is inching toward implementation.

The 13-member Worthington Community Visioning Committee, which presented its seven vision statements to council on Nov. 9 following comprehensive community feedback, submitted its final report to Worthington City Council in December.

Previous story:Committee settles on Worthington vision statements; implementation comes next

Council formally accepted receipt of the report Jan. 4.

The Worthington Community Visioning Committee has been working on the city's visioning initiative since 2019.

Council President Bonnie Michael said council would vote to formally accept the report at a meeting in “the near future.”

At their annual retreat Jan. 9, Michael said, council members began discussions surrounding how to transition the vision statements into action. The retreat was held digitally this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Although talks still are informal and preliminary, most of the discussion centered around eventually forming a “steering committee” to help put the vision statements into practice, she said.

“They’ll help flesh out ... some of the first things we need to do to start implementing the various strategies that were listed in the visioning report,” Michael said.

“(This group) would likely hold a series of workshops around each of the vision statements to evaluate what we are already doing to achieve those visions, to talk about additional steps the city and community could take toward them and kind of evaluate all those and make some recommendations around actions to be taken,” Assistant City Manager Robyn Stewart said.

Stewart said the size of this committee hasn’t been determined, but the members will be volunteers.

Although council ultimately will decide what actions will be taken for the visioning initiative – if approved to move forward – the steering committee will advise them, she said.

Stewart said implementing the report would be a priority moving forward, if it is approved.

“One of the pieces that was talked about at the retreat was we need to be effective at implementation,” she said. “We need to start tying the vision statements and the work around those with some of the more formal structure of the organization, the people that would be implementing the action.”

Michael said the final report was met with widespread approval by council.

“Every council member thinks it’s absolutely wonderful,” she said. “(It has a sense) of good future direction for our community. And this gives us a lot of things to think about and look at as we move forward.

“We’re also super impressed with how much time and effort was put in by members of the visioning committee,” she said. “It was a job that was extremely time consuming, especially in light of COVID. Every member of the committee put in so much time and energy and thought into putting together the best report they could and really listening to what people had to say and trying to capture what people were saying and reflecting that in the report.”

The visioning initiative, which is the city’s effort to gauge residents’ thoughts on the direction they want their community to take in the years ahead and put them into practice, is centered around the following visioning statements: 

• Worthington is a diverse and equitable community.

• Worthington is dedicated to the vibrancy of its downtown.

• Worthington is connected.

• Worthington is a model for environmental stewardship.

• Worthington offers a high quality of life.

• Worthington’s economy is balanced and resilient.

• Worthington’s leadership is open, forward-thinking and collaborative.

The visioning initiative began in 2019.

To view the final visioning report, go to worthington.org/visioning or visionworthington.org.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve