The following is an excerpt from the Quality of Life report, published by Next Generation Consulting as part of the Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040 initiatives.
For the last two decades, young talented workers in North America have been clustering in cities and regions with identifiable, measurable quality of life features. To help the Willmar Lakes Area become a better place to live and work for current residents—and to attract and keep future citizens—Next Generation Consulting evaluated Willmar versus five peer cities (Hutchinson, Owatonna, St. Cloud, and Watertown) using its proprietary quality of life indexes. The seven quality of life indexes include:
Taken together, the indexes can be plotted as a “Handprint” (see Figure 1 below), so that community leaders can quickly identify areas in which cities are leading or lacking. The larger a community’s handprint, the more attractive it is to the next generation workforce. Figure 1. Willmar Versus Average of its Peer Cities: Alexandria, Hutchinson; Owatonna, St. Cloud, and Watertown. [caption id="attachment_170" align="alignnone" width="463"]
This spider diagram shows Willmar's scores versus the normalized average of its peer cities[/caption]
The handprint shows the Willmar Area's relative strengths and challenges in the seven quality of life indexes compared to the overall average of its peers—Alexandria, Hutchinson, Owatonna, St. Cloud, and Watertown. Specifically, the handprint shows:
Read the full report here.
“I'm honored to be part of Vision 2040 and the team that is forging the future of the Willmar Lakes Area community. We are a strong vibrant community that works hard and works together through partnerships and collaborative efforts. This spark of leadership for this is caused by people willing to risk failure to reach for success. We have seen there's no limit to what a group can do if the individuals don't care who gets the credit.”
“I'm proud to volunteer and support the efforts of Vision 2040 because creating a healthy community takes a collabortive effort. No one person or entity can create a community where people want to live and work and play, but working together we can create it. Vision 2040 started with an inclusive effort to bring together people from across our region to articulate their vision of the future of our region's communities. The goals that emerged from that vision offer everyone the opportunity to share in the collaborative work necessary to create a healthy and vibrant region--and that's a good thing for all of us.”
“We are proud to be part of the Vision 2040 effort here at the community foundation because it aligns with our core mission to engage people, connect resources and build community. It was an easy choice to invest not only financial resources to support Vision 2040 but also to lend significat board and staff time to help drive this effort forward. It's transforming our communities for the future our residents dream about-using their ideas and energies to make good things happen organically in real time and for years to come-and we want to be part of making that possible!”