The Tri-Valley's status as an economic powerhouse is well documented. So, too, are some of the challenges the region is expected to face as its population grows significantly over the next 20 years. Last year the Tri-Valley Rising 2018 report, from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, recommended that regional stakeholders create a "Vision Plan" to ensure the future sustainability of the region's economy. Toward that end, Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute have joined together with regional government officials and local business leaders to begin developing a roadmap for the region's future called the 2040 Innovation Tri-Valley Vision Plan.
"The visioning process begins with opening up our minds to new ideas about what the future can look like, considering a range of possible models," says Lynn Wallace Naylor, CEO of Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group. "What is the future of work? What is the future of education? What form might new housing take, and how do we live best together as a diverse community? When we start with audacious ideas, we sort out what is most important to us, establish a collective vision, and create a probable path for how we get there together."
"We want to make sure that this is not just another report," notes Dale Kaye, the founding CEO of Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group and one of the driving forces behind the fundraising and organization needed to make this plan a reality. "It will be a vision for the region, with bold policy changes, real mandates, and requirements."
There has been broad support for developing the 2040 Vision Plan among business leaders as well as Alameda County Supervisors and local officials. More than 20 companies, agencies, and individuals have contributed to the funds needed to underwrite the plan's development. Early on Lam Research and Sensiba San Filippo made private sector investments. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty made the lead gift from the public sector. Since then Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, Contra Costa Supervisor Candace Andersen, and all five communities in the Tri-Valley have supported this plan.
"With the continued economic growth in the Tri-Valley, it is critical that we protect the social and economic environment we are part of," says Stephen Lanza, Vice President at Lam Research and Chairman of Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group. "Key to this is the development of a holistic strategy and plan to support the amazing quality of life we have, the immense educational advantage our workforce has, and the economic engine that exists, all while supporting those who struggle with the lack of adequate infrastructure."
Sblend Sblendorio is an attorney and principal with national law firm Hoge Fenton, which has an office at Hacienda. He agrees that planning for the future is a vitally important task for the Tri-Valley. "We have been a Tri-Valley business for 20 years," he says. "We moved here because of the thriving economy and the quality of life for our employees. We remain here for the same reasons. I spend a great deal of time with clients thinking about the infrastructure we will need to continue flourishing in the Tri-Valley. A long term vision gives us a plan to provide economic vibrancy and great lives for future residents. We can have the best of both worlds-diverse, family friendly communities and a thriving innovation economy-if we plan together.
On November 18, 2019, work on the 2040 Vision Plan was publicly launched in Dublin at an event featuring two urban planning experts from the University of California at Berkeley. Initially a series of white papers on relevant topics will be developed by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Then workshops to discuss the whitepapers and related issues will bring together "public officials and economic and business leaders, as well as students and younger members of the startup community to bring a fresh perspective," according to Innovation Tri-Valley.
After the workshops are completed, the findings will be shared at a half-day "summit" meeting of elected officials, city planners, National Laboratory representatives, and key business stakeholders. Attendees will focus on "creating a shared vision for the Tri-Valley in 2040, identifying topic areas in which regional solutions are most effective; finding opportunities for new housing construction; prioritizing potential transportation and other infrastructure projects; uncovering partnership opportunities between jurisdictions or private-public partnerships; and leveraging activities already underway to build enhanced workforce development and innovation/entrepreneurship activities," according to Innovation Tri-Valley. After the summit meeting is held, a working plan will be released as a preliminary roadmap to a healthy and prosperous future for the Tri-Valley.
"The Tri-Valley is the heart of California innovation, both from a geographic point of view as the center of the Northern California megaregion, and from the perspective that community leaders care deeply about employees, families, and the next generation in our diverse communities," notes Taylor. "The scope of the vision plan includes everything from identifying new economic opportunities to recommending specific projects that will help us maintain the high quality of life and the family friendly character that the Tri-Valley is known for. This is an opportunity to craft bold policy changes and real mandates for the region so we can grow into our collective vision for the future."
A working Vision Plan may be completed by the end of the year, but the number of stakeholders and amount of work involved means there is no hard-and-fast deadline for completion. Innovation Tri-Valley encourages Hacienda companies interested in the process to join the organization. Updates about the 2040 Vision Plan will be posted on the group's website as they become available.
"If we work together to get this visioning process right, the possibilities for the region are endless," says former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Innovation Tri-Valley. "Our best days in the Tri-Valley are ahead of us."
For more information about Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, please visit www.innovationtrivalley.org.
For more information about Bay Area Economic Institute, please visit www.bayareaeconomy.org.