Thrive 2055 will launch a new series of public input events, called Input Incubators, this spring. The first meeting will be held June 5, from 6-8 p.m. at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga, followed by six additional input opportunities in Cleveland, Rock Spring, Kimball, Dalton, Scottsboro, Ala., and Graysville, throughout June and July. The Input Incubators will coincide with the launch of MetroQuest, an online interactive tool with maps showing different ways the region could grow by the year 2055. Features represented in the maps include potential population growth patterns, economic development and residential housing types, new or expanded roadways, and scenic landscapes.
Thrive 2055 Project Manager Bridgett Massengill said rather than provide a blueprint for growth, the illustrations put forth concepts that could inform future strategies.
“Over the last year and a half, we’ve heard what people value most about their home communities and this region,” Ms. Massengill said. “The mapping exercises will now give us the opportunity to peek into the future and evaluate anticipated needs we may encounter based on the roughly 400,000 new residents expected to move into our region during the next 40 years.”
People attending the public input events will learn about visually mapping future growth, view four potential growth possibilities for the Thrive 2055 region, and offer feedback in the form of polling and discussion exercises. Participants are encouraged to provide more detailed input online via MetroQuest beginning the first week in June.
Thrive 2055 began gathering ideas for the direction of the three-year regional growth project last spring when it organized its first series of Input Incubators and self-led “Meetings in a Box” around the 16-county region. Feedback resulting from those activities led to the creation of Thrive 2055’s four initiatives: Regional Economic Development, Education and Training, Regional Transportation, and Natural Treasures.
“We recognize the value of community ideas and feedback in a process like Thrive 2055, whose mission is to proactively engage the people of this region to create strategies for the next 40 years,” said Maggie Neff, Thrive 2055 communications and outreach coordinator. “Now that the four initiatives are under way, we’re asking the public to evaluate some ‘what ifs?’ and let us know what aspects they like and which ones they don’t care for.”
Thrive 2055 will incorporate the newest public input into the creation of a Strategic Action Plan at the close of its second phase later this year. Further information about the project and additional input opportunities may be found at www.thrive2055.com.