‘Seeding Success’: Developing a unified vision

(Provided image/Oscar Romero)

(Provided image/Oscar Romero)

 

This is the first of a series of seven stories featured ahead of the seventh annual NCW Community Success Summit, which IRIS (Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship) is convening in Quincy on Nov. 15. This year’s event, “Seeding Success, Growing ONE Community,” will celebrate stories about our environment, community, and economy that are helping to connect and strengthen our region. Each story will focus on one of seven different themes IRIS is using to highlight successes. For more information about the summit, to register, sample more stories and submit a story, visit www.irisncw.org.

 

(Provided image)

(Provided image)

 

Quincy Valley Leadership Group

Contact: Jim Hemberry

 

What is the situation?

In 2006 as the data storage center industry began to grow in Quincy, potentially doubling the town’s population, longtime city council member Jim Hemberry saw the need to reach out to elected officials and other taxing entities in the community to address the future impacts and opportunities associated with that change in a coordinated way. Describing themselves as the Quincy Valley Leadership Group, they began convening informal quarterly information sharing meetings to ensure that the city, Port of Quincy, Quincy School District, Quincy Hospital District and Quincy Fire District weren’t competing for the same federal or state grants. Over the years, participation in the group grew to include elected officials and other entities, such as the city of George and Big Bend Community College, that would also be affected by Quincy’s growth. The group’s purpose also expanded to include setting shared legislative priorities and developing integrated solutions to common problems.

What is the challenge?

The economy slowed shortly after the leadership group began, changing the pace of the anticipated housing boom and the scale of the development impacts to the community. But the participants quickly saw the need to get out of their individual “silos” and to work together to address such complex issues as reclaiming industrial wastewater to meet the data center needs, and planning for residential, commercial and further industrial growth on a more gradual basis.

What are key activities?

* Recognized a coming crisis as an opportunity

* Consistency. Set regular meeting times and place and the city sent out reminders

* Recognized the core partners all had an equal stake in the community, i.e., city, fire, school, etc.

* Expanded the participants over time and grew the collective voice and impact

* Increased integration of activities within the greater Quincy community such as developing a Safe Routes to School program with Grant County Public Health

* Setting legislative priorities which are reviewed by 12th and 13th District legislators

What is the successful outcome?

The greater community of Quincy is now working together to make it a better place — learning about issues, assessing risks, setting common priorities and developing leaders along the way. The leadership group also provides an educational forum for growing good relationships among the community and with state and county-elected officials.

Jim Hemberry may be reached at jhemberry@quincywashington.us.