Return to Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site

Envision Reaches a Milestone; What's Next?

Announcement of "10 Big Ideas" Won't Mean Much Without Follow-Through


Dubuque Telegraph Herald

January 8, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.]

The Envision 2010 report-back session was - may we associate these words with a dry-sounding "community visioning process"? - interesting, entertaining and even inspirational.

The process to generate and select "10 Big Ideas" for the Dubuque community began in July - actually, planning started long before that - and culminated Thursday evening in a public meeting at Dubuque Greyhound Park.

To identify the "best" 10 ideas from more than 2,332 suggestions was not easy, but community members and then the Selection Committee did a great job chopping, whittling and slicing the list to 100, then 30 and then 10. Observing the dedication of so many citizens, from so many segments of the community, one can't help but think that Envision will bear fruit while other long-range planning processes wither away.

Some observations about "10 Big Ideas":

* The list is not surprising or terribly innovative. But it reflects programs and initiatives that would strengthen the Dubuque community as a great place in which to live, work and play.

* A few ideas are so good that they were already considerations before Envision came along. America's River Phase II, a community health center and library services expansion, for example, probably would be pursued with or without Envision. However, getting these on the Envision list affirms that the community sees them as priorities.

* The list is well balanced, with items pertaining to education, health care (physical and mental), the arts, recreation, transportation and housing.

* The ideas that require significant cooperation or funding from "outside" entities will be particularly challenging. For this reason (among others), the challenge of establishing passenger rail service between Dubuque and Chicago, for example, will be formidable.

* Many interesting and intriguing ideas were left on the cutting room floor. They, too, could be pursued. Don't be surprised if some citizens decide to follow up on the imaginative ideas that ranked from No. 11 to No. 30 - or even to No. 100.

OK, to this point, all this hard work has been interesting and invigorating and exciting. But all that won't mean anything if it stops here. The harder work - pursuing these "10 Big Ideas," to make them reality - is at hand.

To make Envision 2010 genuinely succeed, some of these big ideas need to become reality. That will require continued and increased citizen involvement. It will require people, businesses or organizations to "champion" each idea. It will require folks to study the idea, to find funding, to collaborate with other entities, to plan and, hopefully, to implement.

It won't be easy. But no one said success would come easily.