What does last week’s Innovia Data Walk tell us about Grangeville?
It’s that we need to do more talking and more learning.
To recap, Innovia Foundation works with entities to identify community needs and problems, and to help in the process of providing sustainable long-term solutions. In this instance, a nine-county survey – including Idaho County – was conducted in cooperation with the Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation and Washington State University.
The survey was part of the information gathering process, which included the Data Walk for community members to meet together and tell the human stories behind the statistics.
And those statistics are revealing in what are the top concerns for the three-county region (Idaho, Lewis and Clearwater), in order: wages, job prospects, teen activities, affordable and decent housing, health services, affordable and quality childcare, cultural centers and quality schools.
It's an obvious list, when you look at it, but it puts hard data – not idle speculation -- to what is really on people’s minds day-to-day while working, recreating and just living in their communities.
Some of these, such as a lack of local housing, were a revelation to participants. Community aspects mentioned -- such as it being a safe place, good civic and nature recreations opportunities, and good businesses – are commonplace to be overlooked when discussing what makes this town and area great. Also revealing were the items missed off the priority needs list, such as transportation, a multi-use community center, and completing a local animal shelter.
We each have a piece of information that adds to the whole, and it took this gathering to bring them together to provide a better picture of ourselves; what we offer and what still we need to accomplish.
A similar community evaluation process was done more than a decade ago through the Horizons program, through which some effects can still be seen today, such as the Grangeville Community Foundation, Horizons Recreation Committee (which decorates Pioneer Park in lights each Christmas) and the summer farmers’ market.
With the Innovia effort this month, this event’s value is in bringing the community together in conversation and to inform on where are its current needs, and what resources are available to address these. What needs to happen from here is building off this sharing of information and stories, identifying what projects and efforts can be pursued, and to solicit new individuals to contribute their enthusiasm and ideas toward achieving these.
There’s lots of things to tackle. Let’s keep the momentum going and not let last week’s conversations end there.