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Envision Meeting "Very Productive"
126 People Gather to Discuss Ideas for Improving the Community

Erik Hogstrom

Dubuque Telegraph Herald

March 21, 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.]

Envision 2010's community meeting attracted so many participants that organizers hauled in extra chairs.

"I love it," said Nancy Van Milligen, Envision steering committee co-chair. "We expected 50 to 75 people and we got 126."

The Monday evening meeting linked interested residents with 10 community projects arranged by tables at the Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino.

Bob Johnson, of Mid-America Architectural Salvage, sat at a table with people devoted to the revitalization of Dubuque's Warehouse District.

"It was very productive," Johnson said. "It was a diverse group of folks. We had folks who owned property."

Warehouse discussion included advocacy for building reuse.

"We had a lot of transplants from the East Coast and the West Coast who would like to see something happen in Dubuque," Johnson said.

Organizers of the Tri-State Community Health Center shared some good news at their table: Dubuque's two Rotary Clubs will donate $13,000 - equally matched by the Rotary district - to equip a dental-health suite at the facility, scheduled to open in September. The facility's staff will include one dentist at the outset.

"I could put 10 dentists in there and be full (of patients) in a couple months, the need is so great," said Executive Director Kevin Anderson.

Alan Avery gravitated toward a pair of tables - one with a group discussing a performing arts center and the other featuring possible ways to expand library service.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm," said Avery, who as president of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library Board of Directors spent most of his time talking about plans to more fully utilize the downtown site while developing services based in western areas of Dubuque.

His library Envision group plans to poll Carnegie-Stout users to gauge opinion on expansion possibilities.

"We think there's some great momentum here," Avery said. "We're excited about the encouragement."

Envision organizers expect the table discussion to result in 10 separate subcommittees, each earmarked for one of the 10 ideas and comprised of people committed to seeing the projects to fruition.

"The grassroots is what gives power to these ideas," said Envision co-chair Steward Sandstrom. "What a great opportunity for the average citizen to give their input."