Pentwater, MI – A new year is also a new start to Hesperia’s future. The Hesperia Community Assessment, held in August, was the third area assessment funded by the Community Foundation for Oceana County in their community development work. Led by the Foundation and consultant Julie Hales-Smith, the assessment was also supported by key area partners, including the Village of Hesperia, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce, the Right Place, and the Oceana County Economic Alliance. On November 2nd, the results of the Community Assessment were shared with 30 invested residents, who came out to discuss Hesperia's economic development and the priority areas as determined by the study. Meeting attendees further volunteered to join committees around the focus areas, who are charged with moving the work forward. “We were very encouraged by the enthusiasm of the community to come together and plot their future. The Foundation and its donor partners look forward to opportunities to contribute towards new projects ID'd by committees as top priorities,” said Foundation CEO Tammy Carey.
The August assessment brought out over 60 residents to participate in focus groups, and a large town hall visioning session. The consultant recorded a snapshot of Hesperia's strengths and opportunities for growth, while uniting residents to develop shared goals. The five priority areas included revitalizing the downtown, attention to the needs of youth, accessible and varied housing types, and enhancing natural spaces and recreation development. The focus groups and follow-up committees generated a lot of good ideas such as seeking collaboration between the schools and young residents with the beautification committee that already exists. Folks showed an overwhelming interest in improving communication methods within the village and surrounding areas, such as with the establishment of an e-newsletter or an events board. Attendees also showed great interest in capitalizing on existing assets such as the dam, with the natural spaces committee planning to focus their time on a parks plan.
"The Assessment was a fantastic opportunity to connect with residents about their vision for Hesperia. We are thankful to the residents, the Foundation and community partners for their participation, interest, and commitment to improving their community," said Scott Rumsey, Hesperia Area Chamber of Commerce Board President. The Chamber is taking the lead in making the full results of the assessment available to the community, gathering volunteer sign-ups and sharing volunteer opportunities. Any interested community member is highly encouraged to sign up and be a part of making Hesperia an even more amazing place to call home. View the report or sign up to get involved at the new Chamber website, www.hesperiachamberofcommerce.com/. To keep up to date on committee work in the five priority areas, check the website frequently!