Yampa Valley Partners gathering community health indicators

The National Civic League (NCL) and Yampa Valley Partners are one step closer to finalizing several civic health indicators after their Wednesday workshop with Moffat and Routt county officials.

Once finalized, those civic health indicators will be incorporated into the 2002 Yampa Valley Partners Community Indicators Report, which should be available this fall.

The process started after the NCL selected Moffat and Routt counties to develop civic indicators, which are designed to measure the civic health and vitality of the region.

"The project is about developing indicators of civic health and infrastructures of the community," said Amy Swiatek, program associate with the NCL. "It's an assessment tool. It's essentially looking at how a community solves its problems and makes decisions in the community. What we're doing right now is basically piloting the development of indicators that these communities can use to monitor and track their progress on civic health."

The workshops began in late April, and have been attended by officials and residents from both Moffat and Routt counties.

"We looked across the sectors of the community; the business community, the education community, health care, agriculture, the mining community and the non-profit community," said Audrey Danner, director of Yampa Valley Partners. "We took a view of the entire community and said, 'Who needs to be at this table?' and the Yampa Valley Partners selected key community leaders, and we made sure we had invitations sent to all the different sectors."

The community process started with using NCL's Civic Index as a guide.

Local officials then defined possible "outcomes" as they pertained to a desired future, new roles for community governance, working together as a community and strengthening the community's ability to solve problems.

Next, the officials established indicators in regard to the defined outcomes. As an example, bridging diversity is a category that falls under working together as a community, according to the Framework of the NCL's Civic Index. Local officials defined a possible outcome of bridging diversity as "people feel a part of the community." A possible indicator, as defined by the county officials at the workshops, would then be "diversity of those serving on boards in the community."

Danner said the purpose of Wednesday's workshop was to refine each indicator. Those indicators will then eventually be integrated into the 2002 Yampa Valley Partners Community Indicators Report. Danner said the idea behind the project is to determine the region's ideal state of civic health.

"Civic health is just as an important component as the social, the economic, the environmental health," Danner said. "It talks about how we make decisions how we make decisions on the region. Do we look at topics as a region? And then how do we measure that? It's a component of how we operate as a community because it gives us that civic infrastructure. We need an infrastructure of good decision making within a community."

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