Having a clear vision for the future is a great first step. But once you’ve narrowed it down, then comes the tricky part: putting your plan into action. When that plan encompasses large portions of a region, a bustling marine terminal, airport, boatworks, marina, and beloved community gathering places, this vision becomes a true labor of love.

Port of Olympia Vision 2050 community survey
The Port of Olympia’s Vision 2050 program hopes to shape our region for years to come. Photo courtesy: Port of Olympia

The Port of Olympia’s Vision 2050 program will shape our region—visually, economically and environmentally—for decades. Using public comments, survey input, and collaboration with local business owners and government officials, Vision 2050 hopes to make the future of our region stronger, better and economically vibrant.

Port officials put their vision request to the people of Thurston County and received nearly 10,000 public comments in return. Through early June 2019, they are in the community review phase, asking the public to prioritize future Port actions.. On Wednesday, May 8, they’ll hold an open house at the South Puget Sound Community College’s Bowen Building Conference Room from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. At this drop-in friendly open house, there will be stations for the public to learn more and mark down which priorities they feel are most important.

The Vision 2050 program consists of a 27-person task force which was broken down into three overarching teams. These address the Marine Terminal’s waterfront and community assets, Business Development (infrastructure and real estate), and Sustainability, Administration, Communications and Engagement.

These groups sorted through replies from more than 1,700 people and identified 10 goal areas and 60 potential actions based on the comments. At the end of March, the task force kicked off the community review phase. “We’ve heard you,” says Communications, Marketing, and Outreach Manager Jennie Foglia-Jones. “You gave us your input and now you have the opportunity to prioritize future Port goals and actions based on the input received during summer and fall of 2018.”

Port of Olympia Vision 2050 task force
Take their online survey for a chance to win $250 or attend the May 8 open house to learn more about the Vision 2050 project. Photo courtesy: Port of Olympia

This is where the new survey comes into play. The survey is broken up by the three major themes and includes a goal for each of the various Port functions. The survey taker’s role is to select one, or multiple potential actions the Port should take to accomplish each goal.. Take a few minutes to submit your thoughts and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $250 Visa gift card. But just because the process is well underway, new voices are always welcome. The “Other” category is where additional input can always be added.

But the community review phase is more than just online rankings. The project team will be hosting and attending meetings with local civic organizations, schools, home owners associations, and more. In June, the task force will look over the data rankings and present final goals and actions based on submitted feedback to the Port Commission later this summer.

Big projects seem daunting, but they’re crucial to growth and progress. Thanks to dedicated Port staff, things aren’t as overwhelming as they may seem. They’ve created an At-a-Glance summary of more than 9,300 comments showing which aspects received the highest rankings. This includes everything from cargo ships at the Port to issues of climate change and sea level rise. There is also an Action Plan Matrix to provide the full actions determined by the task force.

Port of Olympia Vision 2050 ships
The Port operates a working waterfront, the regional airport, downtown boatworks and marina, and properties like the Olympia Farmer’s Market. Photo courtesy: Port of Olympia

Nearly 2,500 years ago, Greek statesman Pericles summed things up in a way that’s still relevant today. He admitted “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.”

Planning for the future is never easy. It’s hard enough to keep emergency earthquake supplies stocked or track a college savings account for your kids. Now imagine having to plan decades ahead for the wellbeing, expansion, economic development, and benefit of an entire county. It’s not easy but hugely important. The last such plan resulted in developments such as the Market District, which included the Olympia Farmers Market, an anchor of live music, artisanal goods, and year round entertainment.

Do your part by touring Olympia’s working waterfront, taking the survey, attending the May 8 Open House, or contacting the Port directly with questions or to schedule an in-person conversation. Help meet the challenge and build a strong, vibrant future with Vision 2050.

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