Seven themes summarizing the values and priorities residents hold for their community emerged from input received during a recent Cody Community Review.
The major areas of focus are air service, amenities, housing, outdoor recreation, planned growth, workforce development and a year-round economy.
Now, in advance of a January large group strategic session, Cody people are asked to complete a brief online survey at https://survey.uwyo.edu/2019CodyReviewPrioritySetting to indicate which theme they believe should be a top priority.
The Cody Community Review Oct. 14-16 was a mini-strategic planning process consisting of listening sessions and written surveys. It was coordinated by the Wyoming Business Council and University of Wyoming Extension and organized with help from a team of Cody leaders.
To collect people’s thoughts on how they envision Cody in future years, a team of WBC and UW staff met with and accepted comments from more than 300 Cody residents during 15 public sessions over three days.
People ranging from a small handful to several dozen per session shared their opinions on Cody’s strengths and opportunities as well as their visions for the future.
In addition, similar information was gleaned from surveys returned from the 2,200 Cody households on a random mailing list.
“This process allowed us to hear from many different viewpoints and we collected incredible feedback,” said Amy Quick, WBC Northwest Regional director and Cody resident. “Everyone we visited with is passionate about our community.”
After the final listening session, review team members Kim Porter, Wendy Lopez and Quick with the business council and Julie Daniels of UW summarized the comments as “headlines” – the key themes from ideas.
To further discover shared feelings and to visualize sentiments, all comments received through in-person listening sessions and online surveys were entered into a software program to create a “word cloud” of the responses.
In a word cloud, popular words grow larger, while others shrink, providing a visual of the major themes. The seven themes emerged along with some key thoughts about actions to consider.
Dossie Overfield, a Park County commissioner, was a leader on the local team.
“While the findings were not surprising, the fact that the same themes emerged in groups ranging from high school students to senior citizens was,” she said.
Team members summarized those results with people attending an Oct. 16 final town hall meeting in the Cody Auditorium. People who attended were asked to vote for their theme of highest priority.
The summary is not the final step. The team will further prioritize results.
“The real work begins in the next step when we again come together to identify ways to implement these themes,” Quick said.
To prepare for the large-group “strategic doing” session in January, over the next few months review team members will reassemble in smaller groups to further discuss the seven identified themes.
They plan to spend a few hours each month answering the question, “How do we address the issues before us?” said James Klessens, Forward Cody CEO.
This part of the process identifies actions and puts a plan in place to address those actions, he said.
“Organizers felt satisfied with the turnout,” Klessens said of community participation. “But we know many more people in Cody have opinions about the town’s future.”
To facilitate more involvement, UW has established a web-based survey where people may vote on which of the seven themes they deem most important. Additionally, survey takers may sign up to receive further information on the community review going forward.
“In the ongoing process of community development, the most crucial part is gathering input from local residents regarding their thoughts about the community’s future,” Klessens said.
Final results will serve as a community development guide for individuals, businesses, institutions and government agencies over the next decade, and will help improve community decision-making and leadership strategies for people in position to shape future plans and projects in Cody.
Ultimately, the goal is to make Cody a stronger, healthier and more prosperous community.
Seven areas identified for future
The seven main themes identified from input received during the Cody Community Review Oct. 14-16 with examples are:
• Increase number of flights, carriers
• Expand, relocate airport
• Vibrant downtown, restaurants
• Nightlife, cultural opportunities
• Public transportation
• Events, sports, multipurpose complex
• Affordable, attainable
• Senior, assisted
• Mixed use
• Promote opportunities
• Public land issues
• Pathways – bike, walk, ski
• Education, preservation, stewardship
• Preserve small town feel
• Maintain cultural and western heritage
• Trade, tech, CTE programs
• Customer service training
• Value of entry-level positions
• Partnerships with high school, Northwest College, University of Wyoming
• Transitions from thinking about jobs to building careers
• Second season, shoulder, winter tourism
• Diversified business development, industry
• Incubators and co-working space
• Convention center
Go to https://survey.uwyo.edu/2019CodyReviewPrioritySetting to mark the theme you believe is most important.
People in retail session share ideas
By LEO WOLFSON
The Wyoming Business Council met with at least 76 local businesses during the Cody Community Review held in mid-October.
“We want to get as broad a swath of the population as possible as we can,” said Amy Quick, regional director for Business Council’s northwest region.
Over the course of three days, 16 public meetings were held in which the public was asked on what kind of development they would like to see in Cody, in addition to impromptu door-to-door meetings members from the business council and University of Wyoming Extension Office paid to local businesses.
At a retail-focused meeting held Oct. 16, a handful of local business owners expressed their thoughts on growth opportunities they see for Cody moving forward. These included:
• Keeping Beartooth Pass (WYO 212) open year round
• Encouraging businesses to stay open later into the evening
• Combining the Farmer’s Market with the summer Concerts in the Park
• Encouraging more cohesion and communication between downtown businesses
• Establishing more nightlife
• Building a downtown parking lot
• Better marketing of local recreation
• Promoting artisanal food opportunities