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Celebrating the Vision; Looking toward the next 5 years

When you asked those attending the fifth anniversary party for Austin’s Vision 2020 initiative, it was hard to find anyone who could pick one area of achievement as their favorite.

“We just love Austin; we love it all,” said Marlene Blaser, standing with her husband, Norm, at the celebration Thursday at the Spam Museum.

“There are so many good things happening in this town,” said Norm Blaser, in agreement.

The initiative is broadly-based across community, school, business, economic development and recreational platforms, from working to establish a “Destination Downtown” with a new Spam Museum as an anchor, to work on a plan for a community recreation center. An announcement should be made about the rec center plans sometime next week.

Other advancements include the Red Bike program;  creating the springboard for what eventually became Austin Aspires, an education initiative to help promote student success; and creating the Community Home Improvement Project (or CHIP), that helps low-income households with repairs.

Vision 2020 Director Greg Siems was of the same thought as the Blasers — there were too many pieces that are a part of the vision to just choose one as a favorite.

“They all fit together with the overarching goal … to make Austin as good as it can be,” he said.

There was a mood of enthusiasm, as wave after wave of party-goers arrived.

Gail Dennison, director of public relations and development for The Hormel Institute, said there was a growing excitement in the community for what the years ahead have yet to hold.

“The improvements of today will take us into the future — it’s all about investing in our community today” to reap rewards tomorrow, she said. “It’s all very exciting.”