Thank you so much for your interest in the Vista Grove Initiative and our efforts to promote issue-oriented discussion about our future direction. If you're just joing the conversation, here are some of the questions we expect you'll have.
- Is the Vista Grove Initiative the same as Lavista Hills?
- Is the Vista Grove Initiative promoting cityhood?
- What is the Vista Grove footprint?
No. In fact, none of the founding members of VGI had any involvement in LaVista Hills, and some of us voted "no" to LaVista Hills. We also did not have any involvement with the proposed cities of Lakeside or Briarcliff. The Vista Grove Initiative is a new, fresh effort that is not focused on pushing a particular agenda, but rather, helping us be informed as a community about our future civic direction and, to the extent possible, trying to preserve the OPTION of cityhood before it is lost to other annexations or future legislative changes. We also observed a certain divisive tone in previous cityhood discussions and do not think that benefits any of us. Thus, our founding principles and focus are positive dialogue, self-determination and choice for our community, and providing the best information about our civic options to provide the most informed choices.
We are promoting CHOICE, and preserving a cityhood option for study and discussion. Some of us like the idea of a city, and some of us want to wait and hear more. But VGI's common belief is that our community is better off having more options for our future, rather than less, and a City of Vista Grove is an option that may disappear if legislation is not introduced in the General Assembly this year. We would like to see that legislation introduced during this 2017 session, and then a constructive discussion ensue across the Vista Grove footprint that is based on good information, quality dialogue about issues, and a shared recognition that we all have the best interests of our neighborhoods, schools, families and larger community at heart. Whether we decide to make Vista Grove a city or not, coming together and having that kind of a future-oriented discussion is only going to help us be more cohesive and better prepared to take on the many challenges and opportunities ahead for us, including keeping our schools thriving and excelling.
A great question, and one that goes to the heart of how VGI thinks a cityhood discussion needs to be approached. In general, as we move north of Decatur, heading into neighborhoods along Clairmont and Lavista Roads, and then further up to our communities north of I-285, we feel a shared identity. We feel that shared identity, that feeling of being "at home," when we move from our shopping and dining areas in Toco Hills in the west and the Northlake shopping area to the east. We view ourselves and our neighbors as having a very progressive, engaged, and friendly sensibility. We value the socio-economic and cultural diversity of our neighborhoods and families. And, whether we have children attending there or not, we feel an affinity with, and pride in the accomplishments of, our great elementary schools and our flagship Lakeside High School. And indeed, the Vista Grove community tracks the Lakeside school attendance area if not completely, quite closely.
In terms of how one could translate this shared identity into the precise boundaries of a city, VGI supports an inclusive and grassroots approach. The Lakeside attendance boundaries would be a natural STARTING point for discussion. Then, following town hall and civic association discussion, any neighborhood that wanted to be part of an incorporated Vista Grove could. Conversely, if a bordering neighborhood in the LHS school zone did not want to be part of an incorporated area, they could also communicate that decision as well. Such a process will require thoughtful discussion inside our community and, it should be noted, open-minded and collaborative engagement with neighboring cities. Among other things, coordination will be necessary to harmonize boundaries and to avoid leaving any unincorporated pockets or islands.