Archived Story

Making progress: Vision 2020 releases update

Published 10:47am Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The clouds have cleared, and many of the Vision 2020 projects are taking shape.

Members of the Vision 2020 Steering Committee and the 10 committee chairs and co-chairs met Aug. 1 to update one another.

“The amount of work these committees have done over the last few months is remarkable,” said Gary Ray, chair of the Vision 2020 Steering Committee. “It was such a pleasure to connect with each chair and co-chair to hear about their progress.”

The joint meeting took place at the Hormel Historic Home and included an update on Steering Committee work from Ray, followed by chairs and co-chairs updating the full group on their progress.

Vision 2020 is a grassroots community betterment project launched in 2011 that looks to implement 10 ideas by the year 2020. Community members submitted more than 4,000 ideas for the project, which an idea selection committee narrowed to 91. A public vote in December 2011 cut the list to 30. Organizers unveiled the 10 ideas in April.

 Vision 2020 Progress:

Bike/Walk Trail System
—Will focus on three objectives: establishing a trail head system, heightening safety procedures on the trail and creating educational tools to advance and promote the bike/trail system.
—In the process of developing a plan.
—Partnering with Vanessa Perry from Envision MN.
—Next meeting: Aug. 28 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Town Center Conference Room. All are invited.

Business Friendly Environment
—Focusing on three objectives: finances, and how to enhance financial packages for businesses; workforce, including what Austin’s skill set and future needs are; and business development, including goals to help entrepreneurs.

Community Pride & Spirit
—Developing action items around inspiring others to do good in the community, neighborhood beautification, intentional acts of kindness and mentoring.
—In process of developing a plan.

Community Recreation Center
—Currently in exploratory phase.
—Developing a strategic plan and committees to address short-, medium- and long-term goals.

Community Wide Technology
—Committee is in the processes of addressing community need via an online survey. The survey went to Chamber members and is also available at

Downtown Austin
—The goal is to come up with transformational projects for downtown Austin, including events.
—Developing a work plan that includes businesses, no vacancies, the park plaza area and connecting Main Street with Fourth Avenue.
—Looking for additional community members, especially those who are passionate and not attached to a specific business, to become involved.

Education Leaders
—Currently in information gathering stage.
—Focusing on pre-Kindergarten through post-secondary age groups.
—Looking into bringing in a community speaker around future educational possibilities.

Gateway to Austin
—Working on a design plan.
—Committee met with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to understand state regulations.
—Working on developing work plan around short- and long-term goals.

Utilities Building
—Committee is working on making the building a year-round destination for residents and visitors.
—Strong feeling that it should include the arts with an anchor organization/business.
—Developing a business plan.
—Hosting the Art Festival in August.

—Committee is focuses on gathering ideas around four areas: improving water quality, promoting recreational activities, enhancing and revitalizing waterways and educating the public.
—Breaking into short and long term goals so they can set a timeline and prioritize.

Additional volunteers are needed to serve on all committees. Interested community members should contact Laura Helle at 507-433-4243 or via email at for more information or to get involved.

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  • TerraBeats

    They unveiled the top 10 ideas, but only updated on 9. Where’s the update on embracing and maintaining our waterways? All these things are more important than clean water? I certainly hope not. Also, how can you assess COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY NEEDS via an ONLINE survey??? That means you’re not surveying the people to whom this is most applicable- those who lack access to technology!! 

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    • LEXXfan

      I agree. I think cleaning and improving our waterways is probably at the top of most people’s list. They should dredge East Side Lake back to it’s original depth, and put a swimming beach back in once the lake is cleaned out. I hate to say it, but I think the Top 10 list they came up with is a little vague, at best, and it could have been so much more. I mean, a “business friendly environment”, “community pride”, and “community wide technology” are some of the best ideas they could come up with?! Give me a break. The list should have been more about concrete physical projects, and less about vague pie-in-the-sky feel good ideas.

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  • Jim Bennett

    The Waterways report is at the bottom of the list.  It just did not get bolded.  A simple formatting error.

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