- 2012 - September - 10th -

JCCI plans to launch JAX2025 vision Friday

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Jacksonville Community Council Inc. will launch the JAX2025 project Friday with a target of presenting the community-led vision May 18 at the Osborn Center.

That will be 21 years after the Jacksonville Insight study was introduced, offering 10 priorities to guide the city through now.

While Insight flashed and eventually faded, JCCI wants JAX2025 to endure.

“This yearlong project will determine the city we want in 2025,” says a statement by JCCI, which is led by President and CEO Director Ben Warner.

The project relies heavily on public participation, according to JCCI.

Citizen surveys are being collected and group events are planned monthly, starting in January, until the release.

The three project chairs include real estate and Downtown leader Oliver Barakat and nonprofit CEO Ju’Coby Pittman. The third name was not confirmed as of Friday.

In a news release, JCCI says:

• Why. “Every great city has a vision of itself and what it will be. Twenty years ago, Jacksonville residents came together for the Jacksonville Insight process, which resulted in River City Renaissance and many improvements Downtown. Today, however, Jacksonville lacks a shared vision of what the city could be and how we will get there. Now is the time for Jacksonville to shape our own destiny.”

• How. “Because of technology changes since the early 1990s, residents will be able to plug in and build consensus in new and exciting ways. Make your voice heard online, create and share videos, attend large community meetings or watch them online. All will have the opportunity to share their ideas of the good things in Jacksonville that need preserving, the problems in Jacksonville that need addressing, and the opportunities our city should embrace. Thousands will gather beginning in January, to develop a vision for the year 2025 and a plan of action to get there. This will be the largest, broadest consensus secured for Jacksonville in 20 years.”

• What. “A shared community visioning effort begins with a vision scan to honor and build upon current and past community efforts, including both broad-based initiatives and targeted vision statements from various community sectors. We are collecting and synthesizing dozens of vision statements, identifying common themes and values among them.”

After Friday, JCCI will make a speakers bureau available about JAX2025 and provide opportunities for citizen input and engagement. Residents can complete online and pencil-and-paper surveys.

The monthly community meetings starting in January are “to define vision statements, identify measures of accountability, and determine how we will arrive at our desired future.”

JCCI worked with leaders in San Antonio to create that city’s SA2020 vision.

SA2020 CEO Darryl Byrd will be the keynote speaker at the JCCI meeting, scheduled 8:15-9:45 a.m. Friday at the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership in Midtown Centre.

A year ago, about 320 people welcomed Warner as the new JCCI president and heard San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro talk about his city’s strengths and weaknesses.

Warner was promoted to president and CEO of the 37-year-old organization effective Sept. 1, 2011, succeeding Skip Cramer, who retired. JCCI was created in 1975 to bring together citizens to study community issues.

It has completed more than 70 community studies and also works with other organizations and communities.

Warner worked with Castro in the SA2020 project, a visioning study for the next 10 years.

Castro, who turns 38 Sunday, was a featured speaker last week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Castro told the JCCI crowd last year, at the Schultz Center, that San Antonio has strengths with its median age under 32 and with its diversity.

He said 63 percent of the population is Hispanic.

“I really believe San Antonio in a real way is the new face of the American dream,” said Castro. He said the city was a reflection of the nation’s entrepreneurs, consumers and voters.

“The flip side is San Antonio is a big city and has big city challenges,” he said, referring to a high school dropout rate of about 40 percent; child and adult obesity rates at twice the national average; and a senior population quality of life “under what it should be.”

“It’s still a place with a fundamental sense of community and great character,” he said.

Warner said JAX2025 will cost less than $600,000 and most of the commitments are in. He said he is confident about the funding.

The schedule for JAX2025 shows the steering committee will meet twice from October-December and the five community meetings follow, starting in January. The community meetings are scheduled at the Osborn Center.

• Jan. 19. “It’s your city! What will we be like in 2025?” 9-11 a.m. Registration at 8:30 a.m.

• Feb. 2. “A vision for Jacksonville” 9-11 a.m. Registration at 8:30 a.m.

• March 19. “Defining measurement: How will we know we did it?” 6-8 p.m. Registration at 5:30 p.m.

• April 27. “Partnerships. Who makes JAX2025 real?” 9-11 a.m. Registration at 8:30 a.m.

• May 18. Release of “Our vision for Jacksonville in 2025.” 9-11 a.m. Registration at 8:30 a.m.

For information, visit www.JAX2025.org or call JCCI at 396-3052.

In 1992, Jacksonville Insight released priorities that were determined by hundreds of residents and community leaders.

In order, those priorities were: quality education for all; safe, secure city; healthy environment in a tie with planned economic growth; effective transportation; responsive, responsible government in a tie with excellent community relations; outstanding parks, recreation and the arts; thriving neighborhoods and Downtown; and inclusive health and social services.

Insight began in June 1991, when JAX Chamber chair-elect Tom Petway decided the chamber would not take an annual leadership trip. Instead, he worked with Ed Austin, who was taking office as mayor July 1, to stay home and create the community vision that became known as Jacksonville Insight.

Almost 1,400 citizens said they wanted to participate. On Feb. 1, 1992, about 800 of them met for an eight-hour meeting at the Osborn Center to develop priorities and chose 101 delegates to represent the larger group.

After community meetings, the hundreds of suggestions were synthesized into the 10 priorities and each had a set of goals.

“This is going to be out there 20 years from now,” Austin said in May 1992.

“It will not go on the shelf and be forgotten,” Austin said a month later.

Austin died in April 2011.

When Warner first discussed plans this summer for JAX2025, he said it was time to renew the focus of Jacksonville’s residents on their collective future.

“We don’t have a shared vision and we haven’t convened to talk about it in a broad-based meaningful way since Ed Austin,” he said.

“When it’s done, there will be parts for a lot of people to play,” he said.




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