Starting in 2001, community members in the Capay Valley Region participated in a visioning process to discuss their ideas for the future. Over the course of these discussions residents tried to determine "what do we want for our communities in the future?"
A repeated theme in these discussions was the need for people to come together and work as friends and neighbors to sustain the natural environment that defines the Valley. Economic growth and increased revenue from day visitors was viewed as both a challenge and an opportunity. For example, the community desire to revitalize Esparto shops and local commerce was balanced by the need to preserve the natural surrounding. While preservation was an important theme, participants saw the importance of new development, in particular more housing, retail shops, and agriculture opportunities. Additionally, participants felt that the act of coming together as a community was as important as the results from that action. Many viewed reaching out to the large, and growing, Latino population of the Valley as a critical component of building a unified community.
A synthesis of the community vision is listed below:
Visions for the Future
- Capay Valley is a region of rural communities with low population, slow development, and an emphasis on preserving open spaces.
- Capay Valley has a strong agricultural base with family farms and agriculturally related businesses and jobs.
- Capay Valley has a vital community center with shops, services, restaurants, and entertainment opportunities.
- Capay Valley is a safe and healthy place for children and families to play, learn, and grow.
- Capay Valley residents work together to sustain and nurture the community visions for the future.
The expression of the community vision led to a second question, "how do we preserve the Valley and enhance our communities?" From these questions, and other questions about how to make the community vision a reality, an Action Plan was created.
Community Action Plan: Developing the Road Map
The visioning process catalyzed community action. Community members followed their discussions of "what do we want" with immediate discussions of "how can we get there." The resulting Action Plan summarizes community visions for the future of the Valley in four essential and interrelated elements:
- Agriculture and Environment
Each of the four essential and interrelated elements to achieving the vision for the Valley were noted as being "highly important" to resident satisfaction and well-being in two community visioning workshops. These areas were chosen for attention based on community momentum for change and community ability to affect change. Practically, this meant that there were people willing to work on the issues who felt that the scope of work was manageable
Following the first Visioning Workshop in October 2001, several community task forces were formed, bringing together residents, community members, and interested organizations in local forums to determine how activities could be implemented to shape the community vision for the Valley. As ideas have matured, the nature and shape of the task forces have changed and other ideas and groups have also emerged from these discussions. The group Capay Valley Artists began meeting regularly following the October 2001 Vision Workshop. A Communications Task Force met regularly for over a year. And for nearly three years, four community task forces have been meeting to discuss how to transform the vision of the four interrelated elements into action.
Task forces are working to make the visions of the future into a reality. The Action Plan builds upon the work of these community task forces and translates the community vision into a series of cohesive goals, strategies, and activities for achieving a shared vision for the future.