The regional visioning initiative, "Power of 32," kicks off its public listening phase Tuesday with community conversations across the region. The public input sessions will be held at 4 locations in Allegheny County as part of similar conversations in 28 of the 32 counties on July 27. Executive Director Selena Schmidt says the initiative involves 32 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, the Maryland panhandle and West Virginia's mid-central and panhandle and strives to build a better future by leveraging the collaborative strengths of the larger region.
Schmidt says this project is rare because it starts with the people .."What is it that's important to you. Policymakers have their agendas they've put together, but not often enough do we start at ground level and say these things are important to me. Once we have their issues, we'll take them to policymakers to come up with solutions."
Schmidt says in the fall the most prevalent issues identified will be vetted into policy options and in 2011 thousands of residents will attend a regional town meeting in multiple locations linked by technology to prioritize those options into a regional agenda..."We know we have limited resources...people of the region need to be part of the process how we use them."
At the Community Conversation events, participants will consider four main questions:
--What does a thriving region look like?
--What key challenges must be addressed for the region to thrive and what key strengths can we build on?
--What one or two possibilities must be pursued to ensure the region thrives? Why?
--It is 2025. What makes us most proud of our region, and what was key to getting us here?
Meetings will be held at the Mount Lebanon Library, the Monroeville Municipal Building, the Pump House in Homestead, and the Carnegie Borough Municipal Center.
In order to participate in a conversation session, attendees must register. More information can be found at Powerof32.org.