We’re committed to serving this community and creating a sustainable organization to ensure lasting impacts
Envision Chaffee County has become an independent organization to continue building on the initiative’s momentum. Our mission is to catalyze citizens to support the community and landscapes that make Chaffee special. Programs address clean water, small town vibrancy, recreation, friendly people, rural lands, healthy forests and thriving wildlife.
A new board of directors set up a charter and will eventually file with the IRS for designation as a 501(c)(3). A new fiscal sponsorship by the Chaffee County Community Foundation allows tax deductible donations and provides grant management services to Envision.
Original Core Team members Jeff Post, Dave Kelly, County Commissioner and Envision Co-lead Greg Felt and Co-lead Cindy Williams serve on the board, joined by CCCF founding board member Rick Hum.
“Envision developed the ability to find and highlight commonalities among us, even when people have completely different standpoints,” Post said. “We are now leaps and bounds ahead of other communities in a lot of efforts. I’m very proud of the results that have come out of Envision and think it will only continue to get better.”
Envision is convened by the County Commissioners. The initiative began with a planning phase that developed a shared future vision and a plan with 40 programs and projects to support that vision. In two years, more than 30 of the Community Action Plan ideas have been advanced and implemented.
When Envision began we heard concerns about past community planning efforts that did not produce desired results. We also observed efforts in other communities that delivered recommendations and reports but inconsistent action. It was clear that Envision should not be about generating recommendations for someone else to accomplish, but rather should be a model of collective community action. We do not take credit for all of this work and thank each individual and organization who made these wins a reality:
- Passage of Ballot Measure 1A to fund the Chaffee Common Ground program, which granted nearly $700,000 in its first year to projects that will bring $7 million in value to the community.
- Approval of the leading-edge Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) update to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health on public and private lands.
- Creation of the Envision Forest Health Council to secure funding and ensure the CWPP is implemented — treating 30,000 acres to halve risk severe wildfire poses to our community assets by 2030.
- Creation of the Chaffee County Community Foundation.
- Activating the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan process to update the county’s 20-year-old master planning guidance.
- Creation of the Chaffee Green sustainability group and its folding into the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA).
- Creation of the Envision Recreation in Balance Task Force to deliver a countywide recreation management strategy.
- Funding and support to create the Small Business Development Center in Salida.
- Completion of the Chaffee Resources health and wellness services hub by the Chaffee County Health Coalition.
Envision’s partnerships include 18 members of the Forest Health Council working on the wildfire plan and about 60 people from 30 groups involved with Recreation in Balance. We also partner with agricultural operators to sustain rural landscapes and the benefits of working lands. Our outreach includes 1,500 citizens connected through email.
“These organized efforts are a big deal,” Post said. “We are facing many challenges, from droughts and higher winds to economic changes due to the Coronavirus and continued recreation growth. We need smart planning and good management to keep the lands clean, respected and safe.”
Program and Outreach Coordinator Kim Marquis continues in her role. She has been with Envision since its inception and enjoys keeping you informed about our wins. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The capacity and caring nature of this community never ceases to amaze me and I am thrilled to secure the future of all our work!” — Cindy Williams, contact her at email@example.com.