The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin is excited to announce the first two Future Regions - Chippewa Valley and Racine County.
Eau Claire County and the Cities of Altoona and Eau Claire submitted a winning application to take-on the issue of their region’s growing creative economy. “The area has become known for its’ vibrant music and arts scene,” said Eau Claire County Administrator Kathryn Schauf.” We as local governments would like to cooperatively work to nurture and support these efforts to provide continued community growth.”
Participants in the Chippewa Valley Future Regions begin their process on November 1st with a trends-focused workshop and expect to complete the third workshop by the end of January. The process is expected to be complete after a six-month coaching period following the third and final workshop. Expected outcomes will include a plan for coordinating local government actions to promote the creative economy as one of the major drivers of the region's future.
Racine County and multiple units of local governments within the county submitted a winning application to look at the long-term future of economic development. “With the announcement that Foxconn has chosen Racine County as its location of choice for its 20 million square feet advanced manufacturing campus, Racine County is poised for considerable growth,” said Jenny Trick, Executive Director of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation.
Foxconn - one of the largest construction projects in North America will be primarily located in Mt. Pleasant, a village of 26,000. The project will have a large impact on not only Mt. Pleasant, but nearly every local unit of government in the region. The public service needs of this project are so great, that multiple units of government will need to cooperate to ensure the site can be served with appropriately sized infrastructure. An expected outcome of the Future Regions process will be a unified vision for the twenty-year future of the region in the face of one of the largest economic development projects in recent U.S. history.
What are Future Regions?
The Future Regions initiative was launched in early 2017 by LGI. It promotes intergovernmental collaboration, broad community engagement, accountability, and strategic foresight as a means to conquer communities’ thorniest long-term challenges. It is an initiative to bring key community stakeholders together to discuss the future of their community and prepare a plan for addressing an important issue that involves multiple organizations.
We will be using a planning process called Strategic Foresight. This entails looking at the future through a lens of multiple scenarios – different events that might unfold in the community over the next 20 years. Most planning processes look at the future through a single lens – the shared vision, the single desired future for the community. We believe the act of key stakeholders discussing multiple possible futures and then together creating a plan to address an important issue affecting them will make communities better able to deal with any issue that arises over time.
One of our objectives, since we are the Local Government Institute, is to engage local units of government as key community stakeholders. Future Regions will model the characteristics that local governments need to remain relevant to their communities:
How Does It Work?
Future Region workshops will engage local units of government, key community organizations, businesses and involve members of the community that are typically not seen when decisions are made. If your community is accepted as a Future Region you and up to 125 other folks from the region can expect to actively participate in three workshops. The first workshop will focus on trends impacting your community/region (see updated STEEP Trends document). The second workshop will engage participants in discussing various scenarios that may unfold and impact the community either positively or negatively. Common threads are found between the responses to the scenarios that allow a realistic/viable vision to emerge. From that point participants will work backwards to understand what they need to do together today to address the important issues. Finally, the third workshop will be all about getting things going through Strategic Doing.
We know that many Wisconsin communities are facing big issues and dwindling capacity to deal with them. We have created this program to explore whether collaboration and engagement can help communities build capacity to achieve their goals.
How Can We Become A Future Region?
We will be selecting more Future Regions over the next three years. In particular, we are looking for a primarily rural region for 2018. If you think your community might be interested, please contact Gary Becker at email@example.com. A Future Region may be a small City or Village and their surrounding townships, several nearby municipalities and their County, or multiple counties and their key municipalities and townships. The possible configurations that could comprise a Future Region are endless. The key thing is the desire to start talking together about an important issue facing the region – however you define it.
We will no longer be setting deadlines for applications. Rather, as regions are interested in participating in the Future Regions initiative, we ask that you contact LGI directly - firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know your interest. We will work with you to put together a work plan that makes sense for your region and bring that work plan to the LGI Board for consideration.
There is a cost to participation. LGI is contracting with Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting to facilitate the Future Regions workshops. LGI will be underwriting 50% of the cost of each workshop. The cost of participating in the Future Regions initiative depends on the population of the communities participating. Costs are estimated as follows:
Population Cost LGI Share Local Share
Less than 150,000 $35,000 - $45,000 $17,500 - $22,500 $17,500 - $22,500
151,000 – 499,999 $48,000 - $58,000 $24,000 - $29,000 $24,000 - $29,000
Over 500,000 $70,000 - $80,000 $35,000 - $40,000 $35,000 - $40,000
In addition to the costs shown above, the local share also includes expenses for hosting the events associated with the program such as room costs, lunch for participants and refreshments. Participation in the program includes access to the Polco civic engagement platform - https://polco.us/ - for each participating community group.
For example, let’s assume a municipality and three of its surrounding townships and a community organization are interested in participating. Forty miles away, another set of communities is interested. They could both participate in a Future Region event for their region. The population threshold will be determined by adding the populations of all participating jurisdictions within the region. The cost to all participants will be the local share shown next to the population category. Within each region, participants will decide how to come up with their local share. Allocating the local share across the multiple jurisdictions participating should make this an affordable event for just about any locality wanting to participate.
Future Regions Press Release V3.pdf
Future Regions Program Summary.pdf