From January through March 2017, MSU Extension facilitated civic forums across Lenawee County to gather input from residents to shape a countywide strategic plan. Forums took place in Blissfield, Cambridge, Hudson, Adrian, Tecumseh, and Morenci. Almost 250 Lenawee County residents attended these forums and provided valuable input. Over 150 students attended a special forum for high school students, and an additional two forums gathered input specifically from college students, one each at Siena Heights University and Jackson College.
Participants at each forum took part in facilitated discussions that asked them to identify Lenawee County’s strengths, as well as challenges facing the county and its residents. They then brainstormed possible opportunities to enhance those strengths or address the challenges. Finally, facilitators asked participants to envision their ideal future for Lenawee County and describe what would be different about it.
Based on the feedback from the community, the following priority areas have been identified. The intent would be for each priority area to identify several things that can be accomplished in the short-term (12-24 months) and long-term (24-48 months). Each group would have at least one liaison from the One Lenawee Steering Committee. Timelines and action plans would be developed by each priority area.
- Placemaking – Arts/Culture and Natural Resources – There were several strengths identified during our community forums regarding this topic. Collectively, looking at these strengths, can this priority area better define and identify some short-term and long-term projects that will strengthen the arts/culture and natural resources of our county?
- Communication/Collaboration – Collaboration came up often during the community forums. It was determined that we (as a community) need to better communicate the great collaborative work already being done.
- How do we communicate better?
- Are there areas where more collaboration should take place?
- Start work on drafting a vision statement
- Workforce Development – How do we enhance Lenawee’s economic stability, help provide individuals with the opportunity for a sustainable livelihood, and provide a skilled/trained workforce to our business community/partners?
- Promotion/Marketing – How do we better promote and market the Greater Lenawee Community? What do we market and promote?
- Lifestyle Choices– How do we become a “healthier community”? What steps can we take to reduce the use of non-prescribed drugs? What other areas of lifestyle choices need to be addressed in our county?
- Infrastructure - Infrastructure is the foundation upon which all economic development takes places and thrives. Because of this, investments in infrastructure lay the groundwork for not just improved community facilities and structures, but also for economic growth. Areas focused on during community forums:
- Public Transportation
- High-speed Internet (broadband)
- Entreprenuership– Entrepreneurship is the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its associated risks. What are we doing, as a county, to support this type of activity? What can we do to drive more entrepreneurship activity?