By Scott Welton
SIKESTON -- City officials are hoping to see plenty of citizens at the next Sikeston VISION meeting Thursday.
"If they want to see our community grow, if they want to see something changed, they need to participate in our VISION process," said Linda Lowes, director of governmental services. "We need our citizens to participate so we have a roadmap for our community for the next 5, 10, 15 years."
Thursday's meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Sikeston Senior High School cafeteria. Meetings are being held there because it has room to seat 200 people at tables, Lowes explained, as well as having classrooms so they can break into smaller groups.
This is the second of eight meetings planned through March.
"During Thursday's meeting, attendees will be asked to complete a civic index survey. It will deal with residents' perceptions of the community, local government and business and education in Sikeston," Lowes said. "The main item is the civic index survey and a discussion of what people feel is important to them in the city."
The first Sikeston Vision meeting was June 26. "It was very well attended and a lot of good information came out of it," Lowes said. "We had more than 100 residents attend. We had our initial meeting and now we're going to get into the actual review process."
By using citizens to help identify Sikeston's "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats," according to a city press release, "participants will establish long-term community goals and develop action plans for their implementation."
In the press release, VISION co-chairs Jim Schwaninger and Carolyn Harris described VISION as a continuation of planning initiatives established by the Sikeston 2000 Committee just over 20 years ago.
"In 1987, the Sikeston 2000 Committee, through the use of public meetings and community attitude surveys, identified the current and future priorities of Sikeston's residents," Lowes said. "We're doing the same thing now but in a different manner."
The press release available on the city's Web site at www.sikeston.org includes a long list of needs and goals that were identified and set following the release of the Sikeston 2000 Committee Report along with how they have been met and accomplished.
"I was both excited and delighted about the results," Lowes said, "and we continue to be progressive in working toward ways to make the city more efficient and responsive to the needs of our citizens."
This time, Lowes said, the city has a professional consultant, Derek Okubo of National Civic League. "He has done this all over the world," she said. "He has been working with local leaders since March to bring together residents from the whole community to identify our needs and identify ways to accomplish goals that have been established."
VISION meetings will continue to be held about every three or four weeks
A schedule can be found on the city's Website; in the Sikeston Scanner, the city's monthly electronic newsletter; and posted at City Hall.
For more information, call Schwaninger at 472-0627; Harris at 471-4489; or City Manager Doug Friend at 471-2512.