Hesperia town hall meeting Aug. 18 launches community assessment.

August 10, 2021

Hesperia town hall meeting Aug. 18 launches community assessment.

HESPERIA — The Community Foundation of Oceana County is partnering with the Village of Hesperia, the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce, the Right Place, and the Oceana County Economic Alliance to begin a community assessment Wednesday, Aug. 18, of Hesperia and its surrounding communities.

“The initiative is an exciting opportunity to support Hesperia’s economic development, while listening to area residents’ ideas and feedback,” states a press release from the community foundation. “The Hesperia Area Community Assessment will provide local officials, organizations, and residents with a shared vision for the future. Together, they can brainstorm a starting point towards reaching their vision, and a roadmap of how to approach community investment.”

The assessment includes a series of small group meetings with key stakeholders during the day, and an evening town hall meeting. The small groups will function as focus groups in five specific areas: (1) businesses; (2) nonprofits, churches, and schools; (3) village staff and officials; (4) youth; and (5) seasonal and generational residents.

The town hall meeting will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria and is open to the public. “Residents are encouraged to provide feedback regarding their community’s vision, and to identify aspects of Hesperia they wish to preserve and change.”

The Rural Partners of Michigan began offering communities the opportunity to engage in community assessments back in 2012. Julie Hales-Smith, a consultant from North Coast Community Consultants leading the Hesperia Area Assessment, has facilitated over 30 rural community assessments across the state. Each assessment results in a comprehensive report and a follow-up resident session to share top priorities, issues and to identify next steps.

CMF selected the foundation to participate in the Rural Economic Development Cohort Initiative, nearly four years ago. Since then, the foundation has funded and helped to lead assessments in Shelby and Pentwater.

“It is critical for us to keep a pulse on community needs. These assessments help us to better understand how we can support each community’s unique needs and build relationships. Community leaders have done an amazing job of gathering residents’ feelings and aspirations and then fostering positive change. We are looking forward to learning more about Hesperia and are planning an assessment in Walkerville in 2022,” said CEO Tammy Carey.

“The Community Foundation for Oceana County envisions an Oceana where everyone has access to resources to thrive and has provided over $8 million in grants and scholarships back to the area since 1989. For more information about making a gift, now or through an estate plan, creating a named fund at the Foundation, or to learn more about how to invest in your community, contact Tammy Carey at 231-869-3377.”

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