Vision process to hold summit tonight

Nov. 13, 2012 @ 12:25 AM

Our Smokies, Our Future (OSOF), a vision process aimed at shaping the future of Sevier County, will hold a summit tonight where community members can vote on the prioritization of ideas gathered at prior meetings.

Vision Coordinator Stefanie Johnson said around 200 people have registered for the 6 p.m. summit, which will be held at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center in Pigeon Forge.

“It’s a busy time and we know people have hectic schedules, so we do appreciate anyone who can come tonight and be a part of the process,” Johnson said.

Anyone interested in attending the free summit can still register online at Voting will be conducted anonymously via a keypad system facilitated by Johnson. There’s space for as many as 500 participants, but only a little over 300 keypads are available.

Johnson encourages everyone to register before the event, but people will still be admitted if they come early. Registration, check-in and food service will begin around 5 p.m., courtesy of T.G.I. Friday’s. The summit will begin at 6 p.m. and should last a couple hours, according to Johnson.

“We will go through each of the 13 listed topics and ask people to vote on how important they think those topics are and how they may be related to one another,” Johnson said.

The 13 topics fall under three categories — Our People, Our Prosperity and Our Local Government — and were organized by the Steering Committee following large public meetings to gather ideas for the future of the community.

Steering Committee co-chairs Barbara Joines and Allen Robbins will open and close the evening, and after the event, the Steering Committee will put together a report on the results of the summit. The report will include a list of goals and suggested actions.

The next step is implementation, which will be entirely in the hands of the community.

“This is simply a chance for people to share how important they think different ideas are to themselves and the county,” Johnson said. “How important is this to you and how important is it to Sevier County? It’s an important time for people to come and participate, be engaged in the community and share their opinions.”

Co-chair Barbara Joines said the OSOF summit should be a fun process, and she’s looking forward it.

“The committee is encouraging strong participation from the Sevier County community to cast their votes of preference for the future of our county,” she said.