Most people would probably concur that a certain amount of planning can have a tremendous effect on many aspects of what's in store for us-especially in the area of a region's economic growth. The Tri-Valley Business Council has made such a plan-a treatise for economic growth in the Tri-Valley Area called Vision 2010.
Vision 2010 was originally put forth as a blueprint for how the Tri-Valley should develop as it grows through the first decade of the new millenium. It seeks to preserve the Tri-Valley's economic vitality and diversity, helping to expedite advances in transportation, community planning, economic vitality, education, and agricultural and open space. The Business Council made great strides in 2002 toward reaching Vision 2010's goals for the future.
Transportation is a key area the Business Council is working to improve. The Business Council is actively seeking to implement a variety of improvements that will increase the number of transportation alternatives for the movement of people as well as goods. "Part of our focus has been to get the plan to expand highway 84 approved," says Tom O'Malley, president of the Tri-Valley Business Council. "In 2002, we've also been very focused on expanding BART to Livermore. It might be a rail system. It might be express buses that you'd link up to Greenville Road in Livermore and create another station out there. About five alternatives are being considered."
Workforce housing is another of the key issues that's being addressed. "We have a group of people heading up our housing committee, and right now they're looking at the housing elements that have been developed for Pleasanton, Dublin, Danville, Livermore, San Ramon, and the counties. They're commenting on whether the proposed housing that's in the city plans is really going to meet the needs of the jobs that are being created in the Tri-Valley," O'Malley says. "Our view is that there's not enough being done, so it's a matter of convincing the cities to do the right thing."
In the area of economic vitality, the Tri-Valley Technology Enterprise Center, run by Mike LaLumiere, expanded to include seven companies in its incubator for start-up companies. "Mike also ran an Information Technology showcase this year where we brought together the information technology companies in the local region with the idea of trying to establish a showcase for start up companies in the Tri-Valley," O'Malley says. "He's doing one on life science in February."
The Business Council is also actively involved in education, since one of the region's most valuable resources is the quality of the education its students receive. Accomplishments include setting up forums about different industries for parents, students, and school counselors to help get students interested in different fields that they can pursue in their studies. "Not enough of that is done in the U.S. in terms of really linking up between education and careers," O'Malley says. "It doesn't have to be high tech, it could be medicine or a career in public office. We need to give everyone the opportunity to know what's available so the kids don't grow up and have to go elsewhere to get a job."
Progress has also been made in the effort to bring agriculture back to the Tri-Valley. "We've been working with Alameda County to develop an agricultural enhancement plan for the Tri-Valley region," O'Malley says. "No one had planned on the agricultural economy coming. So, another thing that we got very deeply involved in last year was a water task force and trying to figure what we could do about water. We have a Mediterranean-type environment that only about one percent of the world has. That's why it's great for things like grapes and olives and pistachios."
While these efforts toward Vision 2010 are impressive, they are by no means a comprehensive list of the achievements of the Tri-Valley Business Council. Work on Vision 2010 is done through committees that meet on a regular basis. Tri-Valley business people and residents are welcome and encouraged to work on committees specific to areas in which they are interested. For more information on the Council and Vision 2010, visit the Council's website at www.tri-valley.org or the Vision 2010 website at www.tri-valley.org/vision2020/index.asp .
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