Getting the Facts on Envision Alachua: Three Ways to EngageJune 1st, 2015 by gainesvillechamber
If Alachua County had the opportunity to create 30,000 high-quality jobs at all educational levels over the next 50 years, conserve more than 52,500 acres, and cut water consumption in half – would you support the effort that could turn the opportunity into reality?
Well there is such an opportunity: Envision Alachua. Of course, you have heard the name, and likely related opinions. But do you know the facts? If not, take advantage of three Chamber-led efforts to provide fact-based education on this game-changing opportunity to Chamber members and the community at-large.
- Lunch, Learn and Ask: Sign up to attend the second event in the Chamber’s “Opportunity is Knocking” series to learn from Dr. David Denslow, Research Economist (retired) from the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research about why Envision Alachua is good for businesses and families.
- Take a Tour: Take a virtual tour or sign up to go out and see the land for yourself on an in-person tour (firstname.lastname@example.org). You’ll get to see first-hand where the job centers and conservation easements will be located, and learn about how the land’s current inhabitants—including turtles, owls and other wildlife—will retain a permanent, peaceful home on the 52,527 acres slated for conservation.
- Get the facts, right here and now. Envision Alachua:
- Puts jobs before development. The Envision Alachua plan limits the amount of residences built to ensure that jobs, and not new subdivisions, are the priority.
- Prioritizes conservation & preservation of wildlife habitats. Envision Alachua follows Plum Creek’s strong precedent for environmental protection, slating 87 percent of its more than 60,000 acres in our region for permanent conservation. Historically, Plum Creek has helped to permanently conserve nearly 1.5 million acres with unique habitats, historical and recreational values.
- Protects our water and wetlands. The sector plan establishes a new water ethic projected to reduce water usage by 50 percent, according to studies led by Dr. Pierce Jones, head of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
- Is our community’s plan. Since 2011, more than 2,000 community stakeholders have contributed to the plan via 28 public meetings and more than 760 additional meetings and presentations. In fact, in 2014, the County’s Economic Development Advisory Committee of independent citizens encouraged the County Commission to resolve remaining technical concerns with the Envision Alachua Plan so that it may move forward.
- Is a 50-year plan, but the land could be ready for business in as few as two years. The sooner the plan is approved, the sooner the plan can begin moving toward its full potential, which includes plans striving to bring the first job center online by 2017.
- Supports education. Envision Alachua has been one of our region’s strongest supporters of increasing opportunities for all Alachua County students through education. In fact, the recently launched Alachua County Education Compact—signed by leaders from the University of Florida, Santa Fe Community College, Alachua County Public Schools, The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and more than 21 of the region’s business leaders—is an outcome of the Envision Alachua Education Forum.
As you digest this information, think about the opportunities you want for your business as well as your children and grandchildren right here in Alachua County. Envision Alachua is a ready bridge to that opportunity. In coming weeks, the Chamber will provide additional opportunities to learn about and engage in supporting Envision Alachua. Stay tuned, and if you decide you support Envision Alachua, take advantage of upcoming opportunities to share your support publicly.