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Community input sought to craft vision for region’s future

Vision project to include past reports and regional plans

What’s your favorite thing about the Tri-City region?

What are our biggest strengths? What would you want to see change about the area in 12 years?

Tri-City leaders are seeking the public’s input on these questions as part of a new community visioning project called MyTri2030.

It’s a grass-roots initiative to develop a vision for the region’s future based on the collective feedback of Tri-Citians.

Feedback is being collected via an online survey — available in English and Spanish — which can be found at mytri2030.com.

The survey has nine free-response questions, that tackle “big picture questions about the region’s strengths and challenges, game-changing actions for the future, what should be different in 12 years, if money were no object where would people invest in the community, current things that are happening that you want to see grow, and things going on in other regions that interest people,” said Lori Mattson, president and CEO of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Mattson spoke about the visioning project at a March 14 news conference in Kennewick.

She said organizers hope to receive thousands of responses that comprise a representative sample of the region’s residents.

“We’re hoping people as young as 15 will take this survey,” she said. “This is the next generation of leaders.”

Survey participants can opt to remain anonymous or provide their email for further contact, but the overarching goal is to get as many responses as possible.

As an incentive to attract more respondents, each week someone will be selected at random to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

The regional chamber has teamed up with New Edge, a Richland-based consulting firm that helps Fortune 500 companies across the nation reinvent themselves, and “accelerate growth and innovation by identifying what opportunities to pursue,” said Ron Boninger, a member of the regional chamber’s Regional Affairs Committee.

After the questionnaire period closes, New Edge will conduct one-on-one interviews with 25 to 30 community leaders recruited by the Regional Affairs Committee.

“These are business people, high-profile CEOs, high-profile volunteers … ranging in all ages and all different demographics,” Mattson said.

In late May, 40-plus community stakeholders will convene for a two-day workshop with New Edge to discuss the survey findings.

“I believe this is one of the most dynamic communities on the planet. It really is a blessing to live in a community where we have so many organizations, agencies and really sharp visionary leaders,” said Gregg McConnell, Regional Affairs Committee member and former publisher of the Tri-City Herald.

Prior to the workshop, “New Edge is going to go back and review past reports and regional plans — all of the work done thus far. They’re going to review current strategic plans and projects,” Mattson said. “They’ll look at trends that are impacting our region in the next decade or so.”

At the workshop, leaders and stakeholders will “hone the opportunities where we can collectively work as a region and try to grow,” Mattson said.

Dave Zabell, Pasco’s city manager, said the exciting aspect about the work is the collaboration of the cities and communities. “It’s all getting combined in this process,” he said.

“Together, we really can create something wonderful and new for the Tri-Cities. Something that we wouldn’t be able to do individually, but together we can accomplish it,” CBC President Rebekah Woods said.

Sponsors of the project are Battelle, Bechtel, AECOM, New Edge and the regional chamber.

“Additional fundraising is going to be ongoing to bring this project to the finish line,” McConnell said.

Once the final project is determined, the group will go back to the community and look for leaders and champions “to roll up their sleeves and move the needle on these big-picture opportunities,” Mattson said.

The survey is available through May 15 at mytri2030.com.

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