OWATONNA — When Owatonna Forward began the public phase of its mission earlier this year, one vital step, members of the group said, was to listen — truly listen — to what the people of the community said about the future of Owatonna and what the community would look like, would be like.
That desire to listen hasn’t diminished, for at the heart of community is communication, they say.
Launched in January 2016, Owatonna Forward is a grassroots, citizen-driven effort that, according to its website, “seeks to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the Owatonna community.”
But the organization’s statement of its vision makes it clear that from the vantage point of the working members of Owatonna Forward — “stewards,” they are called — that healthy, prosperous future is for everyone, not just a select few. Indeed, even the name of vision statement — “Our Shared Vision” — suggests the all-encompassing nature of effort.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The vision statement also specifically addresses that the effort seeks to be inclusive, embracing the diversity of the community and seeking to be a place where people from all backgrounds can be involved.
Owatonna will “welcome and embrace each generation across its broad diversity of citizens,” the statement says, and will “encourage leadership alignment and citizen participation at all levels, so the entire community creates and contributes to its prosperity.”
Out of its vision statement and the insights the stewards were able to glean from online surveys, meetings with organizations and listening sessions, Owatonna Forward has developed 13 specific action-driven goals — “destiny drivers,” they call them — for the community.
Over the past two weeks, Owatonna Forward has revealed those goals, those drivers, to the community. The final three are revealed today — three that speak of diversity, communication and civic-engagement.