Last week I went to Wessington Springs, to speak at their Area Development Corporation annual meeting. They are kicking off their “Marketing Hometown America” project, and wanted to know how the process worked in Hot Springs.
As you may recall, our Vision 2020 committee went through this public input and study circle process last spring.
The group wanted to know how our community worked together to develop goals, and how the process worked to get community input. I explained the history of the Vision 2020 committee, and how we established a wish list of community projects through public meetings and study circles. I spoke about most of our goals to develop or enhance what we have in the Hot Springs area.
As you may recall, the community identified the river, and other outdoor attractions, as the most important areas to enhance. The city is helping accomplish some of these and other goals. We will be opening bids for a southern portion of the Freedom Trail (or River Walk) expansion in February. We also have applied for a grant to help us develop a trail from Evans Plunge to Chautauqua Park. If the grant is approved, we expect to complete this portion of the trail by 2015.
There are other projects the Vision 2020 group identified as priorities. One was welcome signs on the three major entrances to Hot Springs, and another was having a social media person on staff to help market our area through electronic means.
The welcome signs were delivered a couple of weeks ago, and will be installed as soon as weather permits. The Chamber, the BID board, and the City, together have hired a full time social media person for the marketing and electronic advertising needs of the area.
It is exciting to see work on the Freedom Trail, the welcome signs, and the electronic media person all in progress, or done. These were three of the priorities identified by the Vision 2020 group. Vision 2020 and the city are working on other community suggestions. It is good to see some of our community goals being accomplished.
-Mayor Don De Vries