As one of our first outreach efforts, we are convening groups of similarly-situated contributors who have an interest in Western Nassau to inform them of our efforts and to help us gather the best available data and analysis in the early stages of this planning initiative. This strategy is helpful for several reasons: it enables us to meet with and share and gather information with and from multiple organizations at one time, it enables cross-communication among those organizations, and it allows for discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing Western Nassau from different perspectives.
At each roundtable, the attendees heard about our Development Trends report, expected growth trends for Western Nassau in particular, the ULI Tap Report, and the formation of the Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee. We ask participants the following questions:
- What resources does your agency/department/organization have that may help us?
- How do you want to engage in this effort?
- Who do you know that we should talk to?
- Are we missing any group? What should we be thinking about in terms of data collection?
The roundtables are by no means the only outreach with groups during this effort; we look forward to scheduling follow up meetings with specific agencies and organizations relative to the data and projects they have going on in Western Nassau.
Our first roundtable was held on May 4, 2018 with state and regional government agencies at White Oak. Staff from the following agencies attended:
- St. John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD)
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
- University of Florida Extension Service (IFAS)
- Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN)
- Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
- North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO)
- Florida Forest Service (FFS)
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
- Nassau Soil and Water Conservation District (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)
We learned a great deal about state and regional agency work and resources, and participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to collaboratively come together and be involved with the effort from the beginning.
Our second roundtable was held on June 8, 2018 with County departments including:
- School Board
- Health Department
- Fire Department
- Sheriff’s Department
- Emergency Management
- Property Appraiser
- Road and Bridge
- Building Department
Overall, the meeting was positive and an opportunity for departments/entities to collaborate outside of our silos. There is a recognition that this is not a single-department issue and all departments/entities need to be incorporating future growth in Western Nassau in their conversations.
- Nonprofits and Advocacy Organizations
- Business and Economic Development
- Regional Councils and Neighboring Counties