Vision commission pushes ahead on progress report at first meeting

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | 5:20 p.m. CST; updated 7:27 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 7, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Vision Commission met for the first time Tuesday and pushed ahead to draft a March 31 report on how it will track the vision plan in the community.

The commission has less than 90 days to tell the City Council how it will measure progress by the City Council, boards, commissions, community groups and individuals.

The commission now has nine members. At Monday's meeting, the City Council changed the vision commission ordinance, adding two additional commissioners, Philip Peters Jr. and Lorenzo Lawson.

Peters is a former law professor at MU, the executive director of First Chance for Children and the chairman of the Boone County Coordinating Board for Early Childhood Education.

Lawson is a director for Positive Regional Impact Diversified Enterprise, a minister for Chosen Generation Ministries and the executive director of the Youth Empowerment Zone.

During the meeting Tuesday, Lawson said his goal is to make sure that different points of view are expressed and sought out by the commission.

"I want to make sure this vision is inclusive of everyone," he said. "There's got to be a voice for others, and I'm bringing that to the table."

The commission also must present the first of its annual progress reports in December. This report will look at the progress that different governmental and community organizations have made on the goals outlined in the vision plan.

The vision plan is made up of suggestions on how to improve Columbia from citizen groups representing economic development, education, transportation, arts and culture, environment and others.

The city has been compiling an implementation report on work to be done in 2010 and 2011 and the resources available. The city manager's office will start accepting public comment in mid-January, when the report is finished.

The city has already identified community projects and groups that fulfill the community's goals. Sarah Read, the consultant for the commission from the Communications Center, said that the Eco Schoolhouse at Grant Elementary, a self-sustaining classroom, is one of them.

"A lot of this work can't be done by the government," Read said.


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