In recent decades, the residents of Watertown, South Dakota have initiated multiple community visioning processes. These strategic planning processes have led to many success stories throughout the community. The desire to remain proactive, forward-thinking, and progressive in its approach to community improvement has resulted in a new strategic planning process to establish a vision for Watertown’s preferred future in 2020, accompanied by the objectives and action steps necessary to achieve that vision. As the City of Watertown and the rest of the nation emerge from the Great Recession, the time is ripe for such a process – one that will build on past successes, identify new opportunities, and unite the community behind a consensus blueprint to achieve its residents’ vision. This collaborative, community-driven process is being facilitated by the H20-20 Steering Committee, a diverse group of leaders committed to realizing a more prosperous future for Watertown’s residents and businesses. However, it has been the tremendous participation of Watertown’s residents in this process that has resulted in a well-informed Vision Plan reflecting the type of community that Watertown’s residents and businesses want to call “home.” More than 2,200 residents – over ten percent of the population – have provided input through interviews, focus groups, and surveys regarding their vision of a preferred future for Watertown.
Beginning in May, 2012, the H20-20 Steering Committee began work with Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based community, economic,and workforce development consulting firm, on a comprehensive process to solicit resident input; evaluate the community’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities; define the community’s vision for a preferred future; and develop guidelines for effectively implementing the actions necessary to achieve this vision.