Vision Hickman is a collection of business and community leaders serving as a think tank for economic and community development in Hickman County, Tennessee. Using the best of both local experiences and out-of-area backgrounds, the group brings a “big picture” view of the opportunities and challenges for the years ahead. Vision Hickman's Board of Directors seek to communicate this unique view of the future with businesses and community throughout the county to give a new agility to local decision making.
Vision Hickman is more properly labeled as the Hickman County Economic and Community Development Association, a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization. It is the Joint Economic and Community Development Association for Hickman County as authorized by TCA§ 6-58-114.
The strategic planning process began in the winter of 2015. Two community forums collected a wide variety of responses that ranged from job creation to the establishment of skateboard parks. At the regular Board of Directors meetings there was a growing realization that a new, different approach to strategic planning was required. Vision Hickman could not implement the requests from the public; Vision Hickman's Board members could only encourage the responsible decision makers to step up and carry out the public's desires. As a virtual think tank, the Board could serve as a sounding Board and a clearinghouse for ideas and proposals. The Board could facilitate a better exchange of information; and through its executive director, the Board could provide technical and business services to existing and potential businesses for Hickman County.
With these realizations, Vision Hickman's Board of Directors met in numerous work sessions where these major study areas emerged: workforce development, community services, tourism and arts, the development of the planned growth area, marketing, city/county IT services, infrastructure, business and job development, and agriculture. Concurrently, a study area was established to reexamine the organizational structure, bylaws, and operational procedures.
Development of Strategies
A consensus emerged that to gain more and better jobs that would bring economic prosperity, the strategies could not be simply prioritized because they are interdependent. For business growth, the county will have to either recruit new businesses or grow existing businesses. For businesses to prosper, the jobs created will have to be filled with an improved workforce. To entice businesses to grow or locate here, the county will have to do a much better job of meeting business needs, and effective marketing will have to tell the story every day to those outside looking in. To tell the story, the existing websites will have to be updated, supplemented, or replaced--and maintained. To grow businesses, the county will have to invest in improved infrastructure to provide water, sewer, gas, electricity, and Internet communications throughout the communities. To develop the infrastructure, Vision Hickman will have to sell the needs to county and city legislators who would have to find tax dollars to invest.