Siems: Input always welcome at Vision 2020

Published 9:18 pm Sunday, February 21, 2016

By Greg Siems, Vision 2020 Director 

As I move into my third month on the job with Vision 2020, I continue to be amazed by and grateful for everyone who is dedicated to making our community better. Each day I have the privilege of meeting with volunteers, local government staff, business owners, and regular citizens to talk about what matters to them and how we can go about achieving it. Although I wasn’t around at the beginning, I can see that the community conversation sparked by Vision 2020 is still going strong and offers a unique opportunity for everyone to have their voice heard.

Gregory Siems

Gregory Siems

Vision 2020 is not an organization with a huge budget or tons of staff. We don’t really “do” anything in the traditional sense of owning assets or managing programs. The sole reason we exist is to get people who care about an issue around the same table and start working together to make things happen. What we do is convene, motivate, and facilitate.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re from the public, private, or nonprofit sectors, or you are just a concerned citizen — this process doesn’t work without community input. Vision 2020 started with an enormous outpouring of ideas about how to improve Austin, which were channeled into 10 broad visions we could focus on. It was never expected that translating those visions into reality would be easy, but the first few years have already yielded incredible results. Everyone who shows up to committee meetings and public forums, writes emails and makes phone calls, or even just talks with their neighbor about what’s going on is making a valuable contribution to this community-wide effort.

Part of my job is to always be searching for new and better ways to communicate what’s happening with Vision 2020 and how folks can get involved. Right now, for instance, we are in the process of redeveloping our website, with the goal of making it a more inviting and informative place for people to learn about what our volunteers are doing. You’ll be able to see more about our history, each committee’s future goals, and what you can do to help.

We are also aiming to be proactive in answering the many questions we know people have about Vision 2020’s work. For example, we’ve produced a list of “frequently asked questions” about the new Community Recreation Center project, which is available on our current website ( and Facebook page. Be sure to check back on those resources frequently for news and updates as time goes on. I’m also hoping to develop a new e-newsletter to provide more in-depth coverage of our volunteers and their work.

If you’re ever wondering about something, my door, phone, and email inbox are always open. You can reach me at (507) 437-3448 or We are still over 3 years away from the year 2020, and there is much work to be done. I’d love to talk with you about your interests, how you would like to help, or how we can do a better job of helping Austin progress into the future.