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How Vision 2030 is looking to refocus initiatives after pandemic
Gainesville's pedestrian bridge spans Jesse Jewell Parkway, linking downtown with midtown. - photo by Time file photo

The impetus behind Vision 2030, which has been in a development process since 2005, is to make Gainesville-Hall County the “most enviable community in Georgia.”

In the wake of a pandemic, advocates said that 2021 is a year of refocusing on the project’s 15 core objectives.

“We maybe took a step back (in 2020) and weren’t quite as active as we wanted to be,” Vision 2030 Executive Director Elizabeth Higgins said. “But at the same time, we’ve been able to refocus.”

The “big ideas” of the Vision 2030 project include:

  • Public art

  • Healthcare

  • Millennials

  • Diversity

  • Tourism and recreation

  • Lake Lanier

  • Education Consortium

  • Relocation of Green Street Post Office

  • Collaborations between all Hall County cities and municipal government

Higgins said that the next steps in Vision 2030 include two to three relevant and achievable goals from collaborators and partners that can be completed by 2030.

“As we refocus our efforts, we really are reaching out to our partners and asking them, what would they like to see completed in the next nine years,” Higgins said.

Since 2005, Vision 2030’s completed projects include the pedestrian bridge that connects midtown and downtown Gainesville, $53 million in investments in retail, restaurants, housing, and office space in downtown and an ongoing strategic development plan.

Higgins said that the plans in Vision 2030 won’t expire in nine years, and are expected to continue to affect Gainesville-Hall County in 2050.

One of the major long-term focuses for Vision 2030, according to Higgins, is an emphasis on Gainesville’s emerging millennial leaders.

“We’ve added in the last four years, our Millennial/Gen Z group and changed our focus with our inclusion committee to include people of all types of backgrounds,” she said. “We’ve made an effort to get the leaders who will be here in 2030 and 2050 to be involved in the process and know that they have a stake in all of this.

Vision 2030 officials emphasized continual relationship building with the county’s diverse groups, including leaders in Hall County’s Gainesville Latino community.

Ongoing projects such as Highland to Islands -- a proposed 35-mile multi-use trail system that will connect the Rock Creek Greenway and Gainesville Square to the multi-use pathways along Friendship Road and Lanier Islands Parkway near Flowery Branch -- are still gaining steam under the Vision 2030 banner.

Higgins said that broader goals such as equity in community services for Hall County residents, investment in green spaces and the south side of Lake Lanier are evergreen goals over the next five years.

“One of the big things about working with government partners is we understand the bigger picture and it’s not just specific to certain subdivisions or areas,” said Higgins. “It helps that these collaborations give a big picture of how we can best help all of our community members.”

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