20/20 PLAN Wanted: Organizations to make vision reality



The AGF hopes to build momentum for the plan.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- The Austintown Growth Foundation is looking for community organizations willing to take the lead on the first projects to be carried out under the 20/20 Austintown plan.
The projects are: re-establishing a neighborhood watch program; creating a "Grove of Honor" of trees in memory of township residents who died during military service; instituting a township cleanup program; and developing a township slogan and posting it throughout the community.
Completed earlier this year and paid for by the AGF, the 20/20 Austintown plan lists several other projects designed to improve the township. It was created using comments from residents at a series of public meetings in March 2003.
AGF President Fred Owens said the foundation wants to build momentum for the plan by other organizations "adopt" the first four projects. It hopes those organizations will see that the projects can be successful and be encouraged to take on additional, bigger projects in the future, Owens said.
"We're trying to build Austintown as a community and we're trying to use the plan to empower the citizenry," he said. "Organizations that want to have a piece of this and run with this, they would get full credit for it."
Making an impact
The organizations who complete the first projects from the plan also can show the community how the plan will positively impact the township, Owens said. Other residents then could be encouraged to work on future projects, he said.
"Ultimately it all comes down to a resident and a voter. It's fundamentally citizens, residents who have to make a difference," he said.
Information on how community organizations can get involved with 20/20 Austintown is available at the AGF Web site, www.austintowngrowth.com.
Owens said the AGF is looking for groups who have a track record of successfully completing community projects, so it can be sure that the 20/20 Austintown projects will have a good chance of succeeding.
The first projects to be carried out under the plan were selected by the 20/20 Austintown steering committee, a group of 19 local residents and businesspeople. Owens said the steering committee tried to select the projects that were simple and had the best chance of being successfully completed.
"Many of the things in the 20/20 plan are very complex, very long-term. It becomes a matter of high importance to pick carefully where we start," he said.
hill@vindy.com

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