• Eric Dregne

visioning for Galena's future growth

Galena has a lot going for it, charm, history and a booming tourism sector. Learn how they keep planning for the future while leveraging their historic past.




Why is it that some communities thrive while others struggle? Resources? Leadership? Bad Luck? Sometimes these can be challenges, but too often it’s a lack of vision and strategy for making growth happen that leads to inefficient use of resources, frustrated leadership and at least the perception of bad luck.


The most successful communities plan for the future in a way that engages residents, business owners and young people. They use the plan to engage stakeholders, policy makers and yes funders in supporting the vision. This means using a process that gathers input from throughout the community, engages a diverse group, and identifies ideas for community growth. All sectors are a part of the planning including residents, business, nonprofits, faith community, education and local government. The best processes are transparent so the public can see and hear what is happening at each step along the way.

"By asking everyone what their ideas were, we gained valuable insight into what residents valued in a way that was transparent and literally involved everyone! It’s been exciting to see many of the ideas become a reality."

In 2010 we facilitated a community visioning process in Galena, IL a town of 3,500 in NW Illinois, that has led to impressive results. The process called Vision 2020 Galena asked residents to take part by submitting ideas for Galena’s future. Residents responded with more than 600 ideas from groups and individuals that ranged from amusement parks to zip cars and everything in between. The ideas were narrowed to the top 5, with community input, by a group of committed volunteers on a selection committee.


"By asking everyone what their ideas were, we gained valuable insight into what residents valued in a way that was transparent and literally involved everyone! It’s been exciting to see many of the ideas become a reality."

Emily Painter, former City Council Member, City of Galena


Today, all of the top 5 ideas are underway including a new arts/culture facility, improvements to the riverfront, establishment of Northwest Illinois Economic Development, expansion of the Galena History Museum and planning for school improvements are completed and dozens more have been taken on by individuals and groups in the community.


If your community would benefit from a planning process that fosters a plan for growth, next level can design and coordinate a process to engage residents and set a vision for the future of your community.

Eric: 815-281-0061

Sharon: 815-814-7454

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