“Meetings In A Box” To Help Drive Thrive 2055

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Thrive 2055 Coordinating Committee is asking all individuals and stakeholders throughout the entire 16-county tri-state area of northeast Alabama, northwest Georgia and southeast Tennessee to participate in shaping the region’s long-term growth strategy.

Throughout February and March, coordinators of Thrive 2055, a 40-year regional planning effort, are meeting with their colleagues, staff, peers and friends to engage in constructive dialogue about the region’s long-term growth strategy through the first round of a series of Meetings in a Box forums and asking everyone from throughout the tri-state community to do the same.

“Widespread public engagement will drive the Thrive 2055 process in its entirety,” said Bridgett Massengill, project manager for the initiative. “This means that in order for this process to be successful, we need everyone to participate, providing input that is fully inclusive and fully representative of all individuals living and working in our region.”

By providing individuals the option to get together with their peers according to their own schedules to talk about the future of the region, these opportunities work to enable more people to be engaged in the planning process.  With a meeting template of discussion questions and an online summary page at www.thrive2055.com, the materials are designed to facilitate small group brainstorming sessions to talk about issues and concerns most important to them about our region’s future.  Once the feedback is submitted, the responses will be shared with working groups pertaining to the particular issues that were discussed, and to the coordinating committee.  The information will be used to help shape Thrive 2055 based on the values of the people of the region.

Another public engagement strategy underway is to provide dedicated Thrive 2055 spokespeople to any interested community and civic group throughout the region to communicate the facts and latest developments of the process at their regularly-scheduled meetings. Over the last two months, representatives from Thrive 2055 have spoken to over 20 different groups representing nearly 700 individuals from throughout the 16-county region region, and are seeking additional opportunities.

“Our desire is to reach as many people as possible in the entire region and further encourage them to continue the dialogue by taking it back to their places of work, schools and homes,” said Brian Anderson, chairman of Thrive 2055 and president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. “This method is proving to be an effective and meaningful way to get people talking about the future of this region and empowering everyone to be the framers and decision makers for the next 40-years.”

Counties making up the Thrive 2055 region include, in Alabama: Jackson and DeKalb; in Georgia: Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Murray and Whitfield; and in Tennessee: Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie. 

For more information about how to host a “Meeting in a Box” or to request a Thrive 2055 speaker for a group or event, visit www.Thrive2055.com or call Bridgett Massengill at 423 648-2947.

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