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City staff and community members gather at an ice cream social in May.

INDEPENDENCE — Independence Vision 2040 is underway, and city staff wants input from as many community members as possible about where they see Independence in 20 years.

“This isn’t a crazy scientific question-and-answer,” said Shawn Irvine, economic development director.

The survey questions are about what people love about Independence, what kind of things they’d like to see in the future, and how they see Independence evolving over the next 20 years, he said.

“They’re sort of big picture things,” Irvine said. “That’s where we’re at right now.”

Even though the survey is six questions, Michelle Saavedra, administrative assistant, recognizes the process may not be very appealing.

“Surveys are not that fun to take, but they’re such a great information-gathering tool,” Saavedra said.

To help encourage responses, participants will be entered to win a $100 Roth’s gift card.

The city held a Vision 2040 kick-off event, an ice cream social, in May, and they’re planning to do more outreach at upcoming events such as Independence Days and the River’s Edge Summer Series.

“If you know of a place where there’s a bunch of people meeting and you think it makes sense for us to be at, we will go there,” Irvine said.

Staff hopes to hear from residents as well as people who visit Independence, Irvine said.

“If you’re aware of Independence and if you appreciate Independence, we want to hear from you,” Irvine said. “Maybe you live elsewhere and you’ve got a business here. Maybe you live in Monmouth and you like coming over to hang out by the river.”

About 1,000 people responded to the Vision 2020, he said.

“If we could do that last time, we should be able to do more,” Irvine said. “With all of the methods available to us, we should be able to do that between social media and digital surveys and meetings.”

Saavedra is working with the project’s steering committee to organize outreach and volunteer efforts.

In addition to having a presence at the community events Irvine mentioned, Saavedra said the city would like to help with block parties and other community events.

“We’ll help your block party,” Saavedra said. “The city will actually sponsor buying the burgers or hot dogs so we can come in and talk (to people). It’s still their block party.”

The city also is sponsoring an “I heart Independence” photo contest. Submitting a photo gives participants a chance to win another $100 Roth’s gift card.

The survey is open through the end of August, and the photo contest is open through the end of July.

“We’re going to spend the whole summer getting out and talking to folks, and in the fall, we’re going to zero in more,” Irvine said.

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