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Tribune Editorial: Success of Vision 2040 will depend upon entire community

Citizens of Willmar and Kandiyohi County have a vital role in building the collective future of our communities. The key to success is leader and citizen participation in the Vision 2040 project.

The new generation of citizens and employees often look to the community and the quality-of-life amenities when evaluating a place to live or to select a future employer.

The challenge for local leaders and communities is to incorporate those quality-of-life amenities into the community’s planning and priorities. Leaders and communities can no longer just ignore the future and hope good things come to pass.

It is critical that Willmar and Kandiyohi County leaders and citizens collectively develop a good set of community priorities or goals detailing what they would like our communities to be like in the next decade and beyond.

The community visioning process has worked well in the past with Vision 2020. Through the process, the community set priorities: diversity and tolerance, lifelong learning, economic sustainability, and recreation and culture.

This, in turn, helped develop the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA, the Dorothy B. Olson Aquatic Center, high-speed Internet in the community for families and businesses, and a positive multicultural environment, just to name a few successes.

The biggest success of Vision 2020 was its role in building and facilitating community collaboration between public and private sectors throughout our communities for the betterment of all. This community collaboration on many projects also played a major role in the selection of Willmar as an All-America City in 2005.

That is why the Vision 2040 process is so important as it will help develop our collective futures in the next decade and beyond.

The goals of Vision 2040 identified through a community information-gathering process in 2013 are:

* Attract and retain newcomers to the Willmar Lakes Area.

* Strengthen the region’s diversity.

* Develop and enable more things to do.

* Develop the next generation of leaders.

The key to success in developing projects to facilitate these strategies will be involvement of people from through the community. To learn more about Vision 2040, visit:

We all have an opportunity to help make Willmar and Kandiyohi County an even greater “place to live, work, and raise a family.”