Columbia Vision Commission Takes a Step Back to Assess Itself

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Vision Commission took a step back to look at itself during its monthly meeting Monday night.

The commission, made up of nine individuals, discussed ways it could make its commission better. The group looked at its own ordinance and how it can collaborate with the city government to measure how well its goals are being implemented into the city. 

The commission is focusing on 12 different areas including environment, transportation, education and arts and culture. It has 50 big goals it wants to implement within these areas and more than 150 recommendations of things it can work on changing.

The commission started working in 2008 and has implemented more than 50 percent of its goals. 

The commission said it has been able to collect all of the simple quantitative information it can for now but it needs help collecting qualitative information like how art and culture is changing in Columbia. The group is looking for methods to track these trends over time and chart it in ways that is easy to understand, including how to frame it for others. 

Another cultural issue the commission discussed included how it has implemented cultural awareness in Columbia. The city tried to meet this goal through sister cities programs but found that it wasn't effectively meeting its goals.

Instead the commission would like to focus on different minority cultures within Columbia communities, with emphasis on African American and Latino communities. 

Jan Weaver, board member and former chair of the Vision Commission said, "We serve more of a role in tracking, measuring and reporting on our progress to help people get some sense on how we are doing on accomplishing the goals that we have." 

Weaver also encouraged the public to come to its next meeting as the commission welcomes public input in its work. 

The commission will meet again next month and discuss possibly taking its ordinance to the city council to be reviewed and refurbished to help the commission better measure and meet its goals.