What's This About?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead

What is Community Visioning?

Community Visioning is a process that invites everyone who lives or works anywhere in the Warwick Valley to think about how they would like to see their community develop over the next 20 years.

  • key strengths to be preserved or enhanced
  • possibilities that don’t yet exist
  • opportunities for improvement
  • future threats that need to be recognized/addressed

Thinking about these important questions is only the start. The real Community Vision emerges as thoughts are expressed and shared by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people and the consensus of how we see our future together becomes visible to everyone.   

Once that Community Vision has been developed, the work of creating an action plan to achieve the highest-priority shared goals can be determined with roles for local government, the business community, and community organizations.

Have we done this before?

In 1986, a group of Warwick citizens united to successfully block a plan to dump radon-contaminated soil just over the town’s border in Vernon, NJ. In 1993, that group, now called Community 2000 or C2K, conducted public “visioning" sessions to create the direction for development in preparation for the year 2000.

Over 600 Warwick Valley residents contributed almost 1,800 ideas including a new Master Plan for the town, the open space preservation program (PDR), farmers markets, and the Artists Open Studio Tour. In recent years, C2K has sponsored a variety of local community groups including Sustainable Warwick, Warwick Summer Arts Festival, Project Knomad, Family Central, Village of Warwick Sesquicentennial Year, Safe Space America, Orange County’s only Repair Café and a Too Good To Toss Community Goods Exchange.

What does “everyone” mean?

The name for our 2017 Community Visioning is “TOGETHER: Building Tomorrow Today.”

This is an open invitation to anyone and everyone who lives or works anywhere in the Warwick Valley. From the 3 Villages-Florida, Greenwood Lake, Warwick- to the 7 Hamlets –Amity, Bellvale, Edenville, Little York, New Milford, Pine Island, Sterling Forest- and the other unincorporated areas of the Town of Warwick

And it’s not just a question of geography. “Everyone” means singles and families, newcomers and long-time residents, seniors and young people, straight and LGBTQ, farmers, merchants, folks who work from home and commuters, including members of every ethnic and religious group that makes up this Valley. Everyone TOGETHER!

Why now?

It’s been 24 years since the first Visioning and a whole new generation of Warwick Valley residents are here with concerns and ideas for their future in our community.

Lots of changes have occurred over those years — technological, environmental, economic— and all of those factors mean that yesterday’s vision needs to be updated. Florida, Greenwood Lake, the Village and Town of Warwick are all in the process of either creating new Master Plans or updating existing ones, so the timing is perfect for input from everyone!

How does the Community Visioning actually work?

The process has begun with several Focus Groups, small groups drawn from all segments of the Warwick Valley community, that help identify the major things that are on people’s minds.

The output of the Focus Group will lead to the creation of a Community Survey that will be distributed — mostly electronically — to thousands of community members. Their responses will be tabulated to provide a statistical breakdown of how the community “sees” the key issues and what actions are indicated.

The Surveys will include special sections specifically targeted at residents of the Villages — Florida, Greenwood Lake, and Warwick — to insure that Village-specific issues are raised and Village-specific data gathered.

These results will be re-presented to the whole Community in a series of live meetings called Community Voices where residents, business owners and employees, commuters, community interest groups, government officials,  — everyone! — will have the opportunity to discuss these findings and prioritize them.

In addition to one town-wide meeting, Community Voices meetings will be held in each of the three Villages.  

Christy ErferComment