How do you envision Cody in a decade or two? What are your hopes and dreams for Cody? How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with public services and community amenities?

To capture Cody residents’ values and priorities, and to produce tools and data to guide decision-makers for the next 10 years, Mayor Matt Hall invites people from all backgrounds to attend listening sessions offered during a three-day Cody Community Review designed to engage people in planning Cody’s future. The first public meeting is Monday night.

Update needed

It’ been a decade since Cody’s last community review when 1,700 people participated in surveys and public meetings. The resulting Cody 2020 summary has served as a guide for individuals, businesses, institutions and government agencies.

Now it’s time to create a new vision document and identify economic development opportunities through the review process coordinated by the Wyoming Business Council and University of Wyoming Extension. The review is also part of a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded collaboration of researchers and extension faculty at UW, Montana State University and the University of Idaho.

The resulting information will help improve community decision-making and leadership strategies for people in position to shape future plans and projects. In addition, it will help support future grant applications by providing an objective, professional assessment of local conditions and opportunities.

Ultimately, organizers say the goal is to make Cody Country stronger, healthier and more prosperous.

Review Oct. 14-16

A 4-5 person team of Wyoming community development professional will facilitate community discussions, collect information, identify themes and then guide economic development leaders in achieving goals.

State team members include Amy Quick, WBC Northwest Region director; Kim Porter, WBC Community Initiatives director, and Julie Daniels, UW Extension Community Development educator.

“I hope you will join me in welcoming the visiting team and participating in this community review,” Hall said.

The review starts Monday with a town-hall-style, open-house gathering 7-8:30 p.m. A second open house is Tuesday, 7-9 p.m., in the Cody Auditorium. Members of the organizing home team will serve free root beer floats.

To make sure everyone is heard, Oct. 15-16 group listening sessions are divided by 15 topics, including tourism, finance, nonprofits, senior citizens, schools, industry, health care and retail.

Interest groups meet

Quick encourages fellow Cody residents to participate.

“An engaged citizenry builds a strong community,” she said. “I’m sure most people have some sort of vision for what they’d like Cody to become in the future.”

Quick said a state team member will facilitate while another will record comments the team will then use to create a subsequent summary.

The process maintains confidentiality.

“No names are recorded,” she said. “We’ll just write down comments.”

While the 1-hour sessions are divided by topic, people may attend any meeting regardless of industry or interest group.

Everyone is then welcome to attend a town hall meeting 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday in the Cody Auditorium for a brief recap of findings.

A complete schedule is posted on the City of Cody website.

Survey option

The business council has paid for a mailed Cody Community Survey conducted by the University of Idaho.

At random, 2,200 Cody households recently received a survey asking recipients to share their thoughts about Cody. Expected to take about 10 minutes to complete, the 18-question survey asks people to rate availability, cost, quality of amenities and services, and job availability in Cody.

Other questions ask about community involvement and satisfaction with local business. Survey takers are also asked if they support a new chamber building or convention center and if they would back another 1-cent local sales tax. The confidential surveys should be submitted in the provided postage-paid envelope by Oct. 17.

“I strongly encourage anyone who may have received a survey to complete the survey and put it in the mail,” Quick said.

Another way to participate is to take a brief online “Scouting the Future!” survey. Go to http://bit.ly/CodyCR. People may use more than one method.

“Overall, it’s just really important we get as much local involvement as we can so it gives us a good idea of what people think the strength of this town is and what they want the town to look like five, 10 or 20 years from now,” Hall said.

Wrap up

As a final step, team members will write a final report summarizing survey results and providing guiding value statements that explore community development issues. Results will provide local leaders insight on how Cody residents view their community.

“We’re looking for common themes people value around the community,” said James Klessens, Forward Cody CEO.

Acceptable possibilities could range from better street lights and a younger workforce to more downtown activities and improved air service, he said.

The team of experts will suggest ways to accomplish goals set by the community, and then economic development groups will use the information to develop plans going forward.

“If we have a huge consensus from a large enough group, we’re going to figure out how to get it done,” Klessens said.

Scouting the future

Three ways to participate:

• Complete 18-question paper survey mailed to random households and submit by Oct. 17.

• Take brief online survey at http://bit.ly/CodyCR by Oct. 18.

• Attend one of 15 public meetings, Oct. 14-16. 

Community review home team leaders

• Amy Quick, Wyoming Business Council Northwest Regional director and Cody resident

• Dossie Overfield, Park County commissioner

• Barry Cook, City of Cody administrator

• Matt Hall, City of Cody mayor

• Claudia Wade, Park County Travel and Tourism

• Tina Hoebelheinrich, Cody Chamber executive director

• James Klessens, Forward Cody CEO

• Lisa Peterman, Crisis Intervention executive director

• Jeremiah Johnston, Cody High School principal

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