Ames Visioning Project nearly complete

Ted Sics

The City of Ames is set to hold an open forum, during which residents may share their thoughts and ideas for the future of their community.

The meeting will be part of the Ames Visioning Project, a 19-week program designed to gather information from various constituencies in order to formulate a collective vision for the future of the city.

Professor Douglas Johnston, chairman of the ISU community and regional planning department, said visioning projects are important prerequisites for long-term changes within a community. Citizen feedback is crucial for projects of this nature.

“[City Council is] asking for participation in deciding or trying to characterize the strengths and weaknesses that people associate with Ames,” said Johnston.

The first part of the Ames Visioning Project consisted of an online survey with questions pertaining to the current state of the city and its future. Respondents indicated their favorite aspects of living in Ames, as well as changes they wanted to see enacted.

The results of the survey were released April 19. Approximately 5,200 people from Ames and the surrounding area participated. The results indicated that most people come to Ames to study at Iowa State. Participants described Ames as a leader in research, innovation and education.

Participants frequently described Ames as “safe” and “friendly.” Most said that Ames has a small-town feel with big-city amenities.

Despite these results, the majority of participants felt Ames was a long way from being ideal, and that significant amount of change is necessary. The open forum is meant to allow citizens the chance to react to the results of the survey.

The feedback process is one of the final steps of the Ames Visioning Project. The meeting for it will be held  7 p.m. May 25 at the Ames Public Library.