Vision Neshoba unveiled
Big community development plans are in the works through a generational initiative known as Vision Neshoba after an initial unveiling last week.
The community stands at a crossroads and has access to unprecedented opportunities to impact the city, county, and Choctaw in a profoundly positive way, according to Annette Watkins, director of marketing and public relations at Neshoba General and one of the Vision Neshoba leaders.
Watkins says the name of this generational plan describes it all. It is a broad and comprehensive community development plan to provide economic and physical development strategies.
“Vision Neshoba is not just about downtown,” Watkins said. “It’s about the entire community here. There’s so much going on in Philadelphia right now that we need to be prepared for the future. Look at what happened with the Dolly concert. This is about the future generations of Philadelphia, Choctaw, and Neshoba County.”
Watkins is serving as co-chair for the Vision Neshoba initiative and said the idea for the project came about when potential business investors began asking if Neshoba County had a master plan.
“Vision Neshoba is what will turn into that master plan,” she said. “There’s a lot to do in the next 12 to 14 months to develop it, and we’re having meetings about it now. We want people of all age groups, religions, jobs, and more, and we want their input. We want to leave a legacy for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren through this. It is a very big opportunity for us to flourish, and we want everyone to get involved and be a part of this process.”
After the master plan is laid out, Watkins said the next step is getting people involved in writing grants and starting up funding for future projects.
OPD is a multi-disciplined firm specializing in the planning and design of communities of lasting value. The firm consists of leading planners and designers from across the United States, with a project footprint spanning from Hawaii to Georgia.
“Together our team has a breadth of experience in the private and public sectors, bringing together our common philosophy in best practice to help communities succeed through thoughtful planning, innovative design, progressive engineering, and active implementation of a collective vision,” according to their website.
Orion Planning and Design is playing a huge role in Vision Neshoba, Watkins said.
Representatives of the firm will be in Neshoba County to hold meetings from Oct. 11 through Oct. 13 and will cover projects people would like to see as part of the Vision Neshoba Master Plan.
Watkins said the plan will be developed by identifying community development opportunities, which in turn will create a long-term vision for quality growth and development and will design implementation strategies to achieve that vision.
Geographically, Vision Neshoba will cover all of Neshoba County including the Choctaw Indian Reservation and Philadelphia, and will address current and future community development patterns, key mobility routes for pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, key streetscapes, tourism support facilities, and economic vitality.
The planning process for the initiative is currently underway through the Community Development Partnership with a discovery phase, which Watkins said should be complete in the next 12 to 14 months.
Guiding principles of Vision Neshoba include a focus on the entire community, a robust public participation process, a focus on multiple community development factors, implementation strategies, and funding techniques.
To get involved with the initiative, people can take part in community meetings, online surveys, and remote engagement, all of which will be scheduled and advertised far in advance, according to Watkins.
“These are exciting times for our community,” Watkins said. “We are excited about the prospects ahead and hope people will engage in the process of envisioning Neshoba for the next generation.”
For more information about Vision Neshoba and for project updates and engagement opportunities, visit www.VisionNeshoba.com or contact Watkins, Elizabeth Frohse, or the planning team at OPD@OrionPlanningDesign.com.