Region 2020

From Bhamwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Region 2020 (also known as A Regional Visioning Project: Region 2020 or Region 20/20) was an organization founded in 1997 to conduct a citizen-led regional vision planning effort to boost education, housing, transportation and the arts across a 12-county region deemed to represent the Birmingham metro area (Including Jefferson, Blount, St Clair, Shelby, Chilton, Walker, Etowah, Calhoun, Talladega, Binn, Tuscaloosa and Cullman.) By another measure, the project hoped to engage "as many citizens as possible who live, work, study, shop, seek healthcare, and play within a one-hour radius of Birmingham's city center."

The project was begun by a group of 50 citizens invited to convene in September 1996 by Birmingham-Southern College president Neal Berte. The organization was incorporated on July 25, 1997 with a mission to identify shared visions for the region's future, to organize them into goals and strategies, and to pursue their implementation. Berte was joined by Sheila Blair and Norman Davis Jr as co-chairs of the board of directors. Ann Florie was hired as executive director, working from offices at 2117 1st Avenue North. The group worked with vision planning consultant Gianni Longo of American Communities Partnership in New York City.

Beginning in fall 1997, Region 2020 hosted 17 regional "Idea Gathering Meetings" with 1,800 citizens, generating more than 4,727 individual ideas. To sort those ideas into categories, the group assembled a team of 24 retired educators and librarians. During a series of 6 "Goal Setting Meetings" in February 1998 more than 50 working groups were established from a pool of 800 citizens to develop goals and strategies. The result was 34 goals for the project, which were displayed at a "Vision Fair" at the Birmingham Museum of Art on April 24, 1998. During the event, 1,300 people voted on their priorities (education, the environment, transportation, and economic development), and 350 volunteered to participate in implementation efforts.

To promote Regions 2020's goals and priorities, board members and staff embarked on a wide-spread campaign of speaking before civic groups and organizations across the region. A "Regional Roundtable of Elected Officials" convened for three half-day meetings to discuss opportunities for cooperation between different governments, supported by a team of 20 volunteers to maintain communications.

Beginning in October 1998, Region 2020 embarked on its "Implementation" phase, with a kick-off event at the Alabama Power Building. Seven workgroups were established to focus on specific topics (environment, recreation & culture, education, places, economic development, community, and government). Each group developed a "Plan of Action" for the most popular strategy for each goal under its purview, including timelines, benchmarks, key resources, and leadership.

On May 24, 1999 The Book on Region 2020 was published, outlining 30 Action Plans. Those plans were used to pull together "Task Forces" to undertake actual implementation, with the intent of meeting goals within a 10-15 year span (i.e., before the year 2020).

In 2002 Region 2020 moved its offices to the Martin Biscuit Building at Pepper Place. That same year the group was awarded a $200,000 federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. In 2004 it moved again, to the Center for Regional Planning and Design in the Young & Vann Building in downtown Birmingham.

With funding from the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County Commission, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham Region 2020 commissioned an "Arts and Culture Master Plan" from Wolf, Keens and Co. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. That plan was made public during the CFGB's 2003 annual meeting at the Alabama Theatre.

Region 2020 partnered with the City of Birmingham and Operation New Birmingham to commission Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Urban Design Associates to prepare a 2004 City Center Master Plan based on recommendations from the Urban Land Institute.

Largely based on the accomplishments of Region 2020 and its offshoot, the Regional Growth Alliance, Central Alabama was recognized with a "Regional Stewardship Silver Award" by the Denver, Colorado-based Alliance for Regional Stewardship in 2004.

In February 2005 Region 2020 contracted with Rolen and Thompson & Associates to develop a strategic plan for the future of the organization. In 2006 former Mayor of Pell City Guin Robinson succeeded Ann Florie as executive director. The group was no longer active by 2010.

Region 2020 goals

  1. Clean air and water
  2. Preservation of natural resources
  3. Greenbelts, parks and trails
  4. Culture and the arts
  5. Recreation
  6. Events and programs
  7. Education
  8. Education technology and facilities
  9. Education curriculum
  10. Transportation systems
  11. Transportation infrastructure and facilities
  12. Mass transit
  13. Historic preservation
  14. Downtown
  15. Beautification
  16. Neighborhoods and communities
  17. Planning and zoning
  18. Economic development
  19. Jobs
  20. Mentoring and training
  21. Social services
  22. family and parenting
  23. Housing
  24. Human and race relations
  25. Youth
  26. Seniors
  27. Health and wellness
  28. Law enforcement
  29. Crime and safety
  30. Government services
  31. Drugs
  32. Structure of government
  33. Leadership
  34. Citizen involvement