Introduction

The elements that shape a community dwell in the common values shared by its residents. These values are the essence of a community’s heart and soul.

Many interwoven layers work in concert to create the overall fabric of a community. Maintaining the integrity of that fabric is dependent upon balancing the interests and desires of citizens with an intuitive understanding of the community’s core values. Shaping a region’s future as growth and change come to bear on the sense of community requires a vision grounded in this balance. Therefore, defining our community’s heart and soul is the first step in recommending actions to shape a desired future.
Heart and soul is defined as the unique features, resources, special places and core values that, if lost, would fundamentally diminish the quality of community and sense of well-being that compelled citizens to put down roots in Routt County.
Vision 2030 is an innovative approach to decision-making that was inspired by a Routt County resident’s memo to city and county officials requesting a process to identify and define the community’s “heart and soul”. The memo was prompted by the City of Steamboat Springs’ 2005 Community Survey, which included an openended question asking respondents to “describe the elements of Steamboat Springs’ ‘sense of community,’ its ‘heart and soul,’ which are most important to you.” A group of individuals and local government representatives gathered to discuss the request. Several attendees noted that many of the issues brought forth from the memo and first meeting were addressed in the 1994 Vision 2020 report. Updating this document became the starting point of the Vision 2030 process.

The Vision 2030 Citizens’ Committee was created to develop and guide the process. Its goal has been to put together a broad, collaborative citizen’s effort to define the future of the Yampa River Valley, gathering the wisdom of valley residents, updating the 1994 Vision 2020 Report, and encouraging region-wide stewardship of a community vision that retains and sustains our “heart and soul” assets for generations to come.

To achieve this goal, the committee needed to gather information from as many community members as possible. Seeking guidance from the forward-looking Vision 2020 format, the Vision 2030 committee created an extensive and methodically implemented process to listen to what Routt County citizens want our community to look like in the next 20 years and synthesize those desires into recommended actions to achieve that vision. More than 1,600 residents representing a diverse cross section of Routt County participated in the Vision 2030 process. The result is the comprehensive set of Desired Outcomes and Recommended Actions that represent the community’s desired future.

The intent of Vision 2030 is to define the community’s vision, not to assign specific actions or methods, or to determine funding mechanisms. Those tasks will be addressed by experts and interested individuals. Vision 2030 defines a path for actionable items based on our community’s core values that are essential to help guide future community efforts. It also lists desired outcomes that are the ideals or compass points in creating a vision for our community now and in the future. Vision 2030 also details recommended actions that are possible ways for achieving these outcomes. Some recommended actions in this report are already in progress.

Funding and/or implementation plans are still works in progress for some desired outcomes. However, all desired outcomes are identified in this report to acknowledge their importance to our citizens and to help elected officials and others set priorities so these outcomes can ultimately be achieved.

This report represents the work and commitment of countless volunteers. More importantly, it reflects the candid aspirations of thousands of Routt County residents. Just as the Vision 2020 report became an important tool for our community, so too the Vision 2030 report will become more valuable over time. We hope you are inspired to get involved by what you read in these pages. It is our collective involvement that will ensure that our heart and soul is preserved for future generations.