Opt-In Diary | January 5, 2015


The Vision’s Complete: Now the work begins

With final edits of the Regional Vision complete, the book closes on two years of Opt-In research, discussion and goal-setting. What’s ahead now for government, non-profit and private sector leaders of North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties are tasks outlined in the Vision’s recommendations and final work on county-specific planning in Cherokee and Graham Counties…

Opt-In Diary | May 14, 2014


Our Last Big Engagement Event: Regional gathering draws a crowd

Some 225 people from throughout North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties and lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians met for a Regional Summit dinner in Cherokee last Thursday, May 8.

It was an evening to celebrate, signaling the release for review of a near-final draft of the Regional Vision (4.9mb .pdf) and the near completion of the Opt-In process. Many of those at the Summit dinner were among the 1,000-plus people who were interviewed or who were participants in local workshops and small group sessions that helped shape the Regional Vision…

Opt-In Diary | March 9, 2014


Cherokee County Weighs In: Meetings attract 170-plus folks

The extended Community Workshop in Andrews, February 25-28, wrapped with a week-ending presentation and discussion (Cherokee Tomorrow PPT pdf) that provided some ideas for attendees to consider for the draft of Cherokee County’s Comprehensive Plan.

The attention grabbers, as usual, were Opt-In team renderings of how specific places in the County might look if they were developed under some of the guidelines being discussed for the Comprehensive Plan…

Opt-In Diary | March 6, 2014

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To Plan, Or Not? An opposing view

Although support for the Opt-In Regional Visioning effort has been strong in the seven-county region and in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, that favorable view is not unanimous. A vocal minority concerned about the dangers of governmental overreach has registered reservations about the process from the beginning. And just as we’re committed to capturing the divergent opinions of folks in favor of thinking and planning regionally, we also want to recognize and record dissenting opinions…

Opt-In Diary | February 12, 2014

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Round 2 Workshops Kick Off: The Graham County Report

Beginning the second round of Opt-In’s Community Workshops in Graham County, February 3-7, turned out to be the ideal way to reignite conversation about many of Opt-In’s hot topics.

Eighty-plus participants turned out in Robbinsville, many of them returning for multiple sessions to talk about a Vision for the future for both Graham County and the seven-county region. With experts from a variety of fields on hand, discussions could explore, among other topics: a broad range of transportation policy options; the relationships between economic development and tourism; the connections between land use and public health; and the opportunities to leverage the region’s access to the outdoor recreational playground of the Southeastern United States…