The Richmond County Strategic Plan Vision 2020, co-chaired by Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Kenneth Robinette and Richmond Community College President Dale McInnis, is an assessment of the needs of Richmond County and determines how to move forward over the next seven years.
The strategic plan, which will cost $15,000, consisted of several phases. In the first phase, the county worked with the University of North Carolina - Charlotte Urban Institute to review two past civic indexes to see what has been accomplished and what needs to be addressed, as well as what was recommended but not acted upon. Those indexes were conducted in 1991 and 2004. The study began in July 2012 and was completed in January, and was initiated by the Richmond County Economic Development Team and funded by Richmond County, the City of Rockingham and the City of Hamlet.
“Vision 2020 is an opportunity for the county and all of our partners to move forward and expand on the successes from the last two strategic plans,” said Robinette. “Vision 2020 will utilize the infrastructure and other improvements that grew out of the last two plans and will focus on leveraging these assets to grow our economy. There are specific measurable goals in the plan as far as education attainment, lowering unemployment and growing our tourism industry. I am very excited about having the opportunity to help develop the plan and look forward to assisting in its implementation.”
According to McInnis, the process of planning Vision 2020 was as integral as the final product.
“I think it was a great experience,” said McInnis. “It gave the economic development team something to sink its teeth into and work on as a team. The working group — private industries, folks outside expertise — really worked very hard and had a good cross-section of folks. This process is as important as product. We got to know each other very well, and had great discussions. I believe we invested the right amount of time into it, and it was well reviewed. It had a lot of eyes take a look at it.”
Designed with measurable goals, McInnis said the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan will define success in a meaningful way. According to McInnis, this plan compared to the last two is “much less vague and more direct than it would have been otherwise.”
“Since it was drawn from existing plans, it’s really a composite of all these other plans put into context,” said McInnis. “From that standpoint, it’s going to be very strong. The implementation stage is very important and we will play a new role in the monitoring progress. We’re going to work with different groups to see, how do we progress with goals? We are coming up with tactics and actions to help move the needles.”
McInnis said the initial step to implementing the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan is by revealing and kicking it off, and letting the county know about it.
“I unveiled it to my Board of Trustees at the college last night,” said McInnis, “And we are working on a presentation for the Rockingham Rotary Club, and working with municipalities to get the word out. We don’t want it to become another document gathering dust on the shelf — it’s going to be dynamic and have a life and we will report back on progress. This gives a real meaningful goal to the economic development team.”
McInnis said this plan would be “tangible and meaningful, not nebulous” as it was a compilation of strategic plans from around the county, streamlined into a road map for Richmond County’s future.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.