Written by Johnathan Hettinger, Enterprise Staff Writer, published in the Livingston Enterprise on November 21, 2018
The Park County Community Foundation is launching the “most ambitious project in its history” in an attempt to better plan for the county’s future.
Park County is growing, and each community, from Wilsall to Gardiner, faces unique challenges. But there is no countywide civic plan and very little coordination between nonprofits and the government. Enter the foundation’s new effort: the Park County Community Profile & Vision Project.
The goal of the project is to create a vision of where everyone in the county wants to be in the future and see how it is progressing toward that version, said Park County Community Foundation Executive Director Peter Fox.
Fox, who is stepping down as executive director at the end of the year, will see this project through its end, which is expected to be the second quarter of 2019.
Each town in Park County has a different idea of what it wants to be, Fox said, and it’s important to recognize those differences in this effort. And it’s important to see how all those communities fit together.
“We want to make sure we honor and respect the different communities in Park County,” Fox said. “We’re all residents of Park County, but we have different things that make our communities unique.”
Already, the foundation has collected data to see where the community lies in a number of different areas, from population to education to crime to poverty.
Then, the community brought together nonprofit leaders and other local “community thought” leaders to discuss where they see the different communities in Park County now and in the future.
Fox said the foundation is able to step in and create this effort to help out the county government, which may not have the time and resources to do so.
“We want to treat the underlying causes of Park County’s challenges,” Fox said. “We’ll be able to make limited philanthropic dollars go further.”
Now, the Community Foundation is asking for input from residents, via an online survey.
In the next phase, the foundation will conduct focus groups and develop an outline for the community vision. Then, the group will hold town hall meetings.
By the second quarter of 2019, the effort will be wrapped up and presented to the community, Fox said. Along with that, an interactive database of information about Park County will be online at the community foundation’s website.
Anyone wishing to weigh in on the project is invited to fill out an online survey about their vision for Park County at surveymonkey.com/r/parkvision2018.