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Outreach Highlights from UVLSRPC

January 21, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Commission staff spent considerable time over the past few months engaging communities about what is important to them. They inquired with people throughout the region and asked, “What is valued within the region?” “What are the elements that make up the communities that people choose to be a part of?” “What are the issues that need to be addressed?” More than 700 people participated in these outreach efforts through the summer and fall.

Here is some of what has been heard and learned to date:

  • Education is one of the most present issues in many people’s minds; expressed through interest in increased access, a desire for higher quality, and expressions of gratitude and appreciation for those who work in and toward educational systems within the region.
  • The security of having a job and concern over current lack of confidence that there will be opportunities in the future for them and their children.
  • Neighbors, families, kids, friendly, love, life, community – these were words used by many to describe values and a sense of belonging and identifying with their community. New families and returning families wanted to be closer to their families.
  • A clear identity and connection with land, its value, and the influence and status that land brings to people. Many confirmed the complexity of resolving competing land uses.
  • Acknowledgement of the vast diversity of natural resources in close proximity to where people lived, with a strong desire to maintain that, was clear.
  • Important to maintain a sense of security, safety and pride.
  • Appreciation for the connectivity between small communities and larger commercial and business centers.
  • Connection to or appeal of rural farms, and a sense of pride in participating in farming activities and knowing where their food comes from.
  • Some felt disenfranchised from public processes, confusion over decisions being made, and saddened when those in ‘charge’ do not realize the impacts of their decisions.

What came across clearly was that people feel connected and invested in the communities they grew up in or have come to call home. The Planning Commission met people who were negatively affected by public decision-making but still maintained that they didn’t want to live anywhere else. And they met people new to the region who commented mostly on the people, schools and unique combination of rural lifestyle and easy access to necessities. The Commission also heard about the richness of arts and cultural events.

While people expressed interest in tackling public transportation issues, wanted to see more options for seniors, changes in taxation policies or took issue with some past land use decision; most people were proud of the region they live in, value the vast assets that are available in the region and call the region home by choice.


Tags: Regional Planning Outreach UVLSRPC
Category: Upper Valley Lake Sunapee RPC

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