Location: Rocky Mount, NC | Client: City of Rocky Mount, North Carolina | Project Date: June 2011 – December 2015
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Skeo designed and facilitated a multi-year community visioning and strategic planning process in the Twin Counties Region of North Carolina. The region, which includes the City of Rocky Mount, two surrounding counties and multiple small towns has a rich, shared history but has suffered economic decline and significant change at the neighborhood level over the past decade. The Twin Counties Visioning and Strategic Plan Process provided opportunity for residents and community leaders to develop a road map for transforming the Twin County region into a sustainable community that is prepared to participate in the new world economy. The process was rooted in the belief that it is people who define the places in which they live, work and raise their families. All community members have a stake in envisioning the future for the region.
Building on earlier previous regional study, Skeo built capacity with the cross-jurisdictional guiding body, the Community Partners Coalition, and facilitated a community-wide study circle process involving 360 participants to identify the most pressing issues facing the region and potential actions to address those issues. The Skeo Team designed a 40-page study guide and trained over 90 community members to facilitate 64 study groups. In addition, Skeo designed an online sign up form to support the formation and coordination of study circles, and an online form to upload study circle results to aid in collating and analyzing these qualitative responses.
After analyzing the results, Skeo developed a summary report that includes a set of prioritized quality of life themes. Based on input from over 360 study circle participants, the project team developed a shared, regional vision prioritized eight quality of life themes to inform the Strategic Plan. Based on the study circle results, the Community Partners Coalition created eight Action Teams to prioritize goals and develop specific strategies and actions to further the goals for each quality of life themes. Action Team membership drew on study circle participants as well as local leaders new to the project. Skeo designed and provided a training to each Action Team to help them select and implement a range of strategies and solutions for achieving the regional vision.
For example, the Health Outcomes Action Team identified the existence of significant health disparities between residents across the Twin Counties region. Edgecombe County, which is 57% African American, ranks 98th out of 100 North Carolina Counties for performance on factors that influence health outcomes. With facilitation support from Skeo, the Health Outcomes Action team examined health disparity challenges facing the Twin Counties Region and prioritized a set of strategies and solutions for improving health outcomes for all Twin Counties residents.
In addition to the eight Action Teams responsible for implementation of the regional vision and goals, the Twin Counties Visioning project has resulted in a report summarizing the regional vision and goals. This report has been endorsed and/or acknowledged by each of the three governing bodies in the region. The report and formation of the Action Teams represents a significant step toward citizen leadership and collaborative governance in the Twin Counties Region.