First let me apologize for the lack of quality of these images. I shot these with the little point and shoot camera because it was unobtrusive, light weight and I didn’t have to worry about it. Having said that there is more wrong with these images than just the camera but that is for another discussion.
I am on my second year as President of the Maquoketa Chamber. Two years ago we embarked on a mission to develop a plan for the future of Maquoketa. It has become known as Vision 2020. Dubuque had a similar mission in the early 90s called Vision 2000. The purpose is to develop a plan for what you want your community to look like at some point in the future and then develop plans and initiatives to help bring that vision to fruition.
There have been countless meetings and discussions. Roundtable brainstorming and town hall meetings with the public and last evening from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. the public was invited to attend a Charrette as the final input from the public at large to the Vision 2020 process.
“The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.”
In the first image are some of the Iowa State University Extension staff that helped with the Charrette Process. ISU has been involved with the Vision 2020 process for about a year and a half and they have guided us to this point. The process started with the design of a survey asking residents a variety of questions including but not limited to: What do you like about Maquoketa, what don’t you like, what would you like to see made better, etc.? That survey was then distributed to 500 households in the Maquoketa area.
From the responses a picture of the dynamics of the community was developed and then the process moved through the Town Hall meetings and a variety of meetings, discussions, brainstorming, and feedback. It has been an interesting and enlightening process to be sure.
Iowa State told us that if we got 100 people to attend the Charrette it would be considered a huge success. Our team had set a goal of 200 and personally I was concerned that from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. we would be sitting around staring at each other. We had just under 200 people attend and we were just as busy at 8:30 p.m. as we were at 5:30 p.m. There was also an excellent turn out of students from the high school. It was an interesting experience and I met a lot of very thoughtful and caring people who had some remarkable ideas for the process.
The Charrette was divided into nine stations. Each station had some preconceived ideas and asked a variety of questions. Community members could answer the questionnaire, write their ideas on flip charts, or post it notes. Additionally they would engage me and other station monitors in conversation. I was at the sustainability station.
The Decker House provided free hot dogs, pop, and cookies for the public and staff who attended the process. I met a lot of interesting people last night, some of whom I’ve met before and some I have not. I enjoyed the conversations with all of them and I was impressed by the level of concern they have for their community.
Maquoketa has a lot of things to offer its residents. There is some unfair criticism about the community but I have spent the last 13 years working there and I can tell you that like most communities there are some negative things that should change but over all Maquoketa is a great community with some fantastic amenities for their citizens. I have made some wonderful friendships there as well. It will be exciting to see the progress from all of this work and see what Maquoketa looks like in 10 years. Hope I’m around to see it. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.