The first question answered itself:
“Does Scottsdale have a vision for its future?” the audience member asked a panel that had spent nearly an hour discussing vision and how a community develops one.
The city hasn’t been through a formal visioning exercise in nearly two decades. City staffers have sought residents’ thoughts about specific areas, such as the Airpark or downtown, but not for the city as a whole. No one has updated the vision adopted in the early 1990s that, among other things, called for creating a large Sonoran mountain preserve.
Does the city have a map to its future?
“Yes,” replied former City Manager Dick Bowers, who moderated the discussion. “Whether it’s in concert with the views of citizens is a question you have to answer.”
If he was tempted to leave it at that, the temptation didn’t last long.
“Vision is not something that seven people sit in a room and create. It’s not only the loudest voice,” Bowers said. “Vision comes only from conversation with the entire body that will carry it out. In my view, no, there is not a clear vision. It’s up to you to determine what it should be.”
Many in the crowd at the Scottsdale Leadership community forum left ready to do that. Board members said they will bring up the idea of promoting a vision process at their next meeting. Scottsdale Community College President Jan Gehler offered her campus as “neutral ground for difficult conversations.”
Here’s hoping the passions of the morning don’t fade away. Every community needs to regularly re-examine its goals. Scottsdale is due.
To read the rest of Robert’s blog on the Arizona Republic’s website click here.