It was 2005 and leaders of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce decided to embark on a plan that would help define the future of Hall County over the next 25 years.
Now in its fourth year, Vision 2030 has already resulted in the approval of some of the 15 big ideas that grew out of the yearlong community planning process.
"We’re rolling off the success of the SPLOST VI vote," said Denise Deal, executive director of Vision 2030. "Many Vision 2030 initiatives were included in that vote and that’s going to give us a jump start as we move forward."
The leaders of the vision program have scheduled a meeting on Friday to update the community on the progress of Vision 2030. Staff and volunteers will present a brief update and share results from a survey completed by attendees.
Among the changes is a new structure for the program.
"We’re going to update folks about what’s going on, but we’re rolling out an organizational structure to move these things ahead," Deal said. She said she is looking for what she calls champions, authors and people who are passionate about potential projects.
Vision 2030 grew out of a special leadership summit held in March 2005, in which more than 100 community leaders learned about community visioning, heard from the leader of a community visioning effort in Greenville, S.C., and voted overwhelmingly to begin a similar process for Gainesville-Hall County.
After a series of public meetings that began in October 2005, the program yielded a set of long-term goals and plans that leaders hope residents will recognize as their own and support.
The items included in the recent SPLOST vote included funds to help relocate the post office from congested Green Street and a regional visitor’s center on Interstate 985.
Another goal, development of a downtown hotel and conference center, is coming to fruition. A private group purchased the current Gainesville public safety building and the adjacent Townview Plaza shopping center for a multistory hotel and office complex that will be connected to the existing Georgia Mountains Center by a pedestrian bridge over Jesse Jewell Parkway.