What are “Community Conversations”?
Clear Vision Eau Claire sponsored a series of small group conversations across Eau Claire County about what’s important to you. Your opinion is critical to help shape efforts for building a vibrant future for our communities. These “community conversations” used the “values house meeting” (see Page 8 of the Clear Vision Toolkit) approach to small group public conversations. These are structured conversations through which participants identifed civic values and discuss strategies for civic vitality. The results of these conversations are summarized above and will be used by Clear Vision in planning a major 2015 community wide visioning initiative.
What’s the background to “Continuing the Conversation”?
In June 2007, the City of Eau Claire collaborated with area governments, school institutions and civil society organizations to sponsor a countywide visioning process that attracted over 200 participants during the 10-month planning process. Partnering with the National Civic League and the Humphrey Institute Center for Democracy and Citizenship, community stakeholders prepared a 2008 Community Report and Plan with 125 action strategies for six key community performance areas: civic engagement, economic development, health, quality of life, education, and transportation. Common to all the key performance areas are the twin concepts of building civic problem solving skills and embedding collaboration among community governments, organizations and institutions.
Building on the realization that strong democracies begin with the conversations citizens have about the common good and the choices they make about the kind of community they want, Clear Vision Eau Claire Inc. was incorporated 2010 as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit corporation with a mission to engage all members of the greater Eau Claire community in active citizenship and collaborative conversations about the common good. Over the past four years, Clear Vision has convened and trained more than 250 community members to address a broad range of community concerns including:
- Jobs for the underemployed
- Quality of life community activities
- Environmental stewardship and sustainability
- Food security and community gardens
- Regional transit
- Jobs for underemployed
- Treatment instead of incarceration – Community Day
- Public parks funding
- Collaborative education
- Community performing arts facilities (Confluence Project)
- Fairfax Pool capital project funding
- County Exposition Center future
- Homeless shelter – Sojourner House
- Mental health