A City of Houston effort will lead to an assessment of the community, officials announced. A chair has been selected.

Houston Visioning 2014, a collaboration between the Houston community, the Center for Community Studies, Hammons School of Architecture, Drury University and University of Missouri-Extension began its visioning process to develop long-term goals for the community.

The process seeks to assist the City of Houston and surrounding communities by helping to organize, assess, research, explore, evaluate, critique and prioritize a range of community assets, values and visions for consideration and implementation over the next 15-20 years.

The Visioning Advisory Committee has met three times to assemble a presentation for Drury College students on Aug. 20. Jason Pounds, HHS social studies teacher, was elected chairman.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, the Drury Students Design Team will tour the town and be introduced to the community at a 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. open house at the Storm Shelter.

Other community meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. on the following dates: Monday, Sept. 15; Monday, Oct. 13; Monday, Nov. 10; and Monday, Dec. 8. To truly represent the community dreams and challenges, everyone in the city and surrounding area is encouraged to attend the community meetings.

The following groups who have a vested interest in the community are invited to attend: youth groups, senior organizations, community organizations, business owners, financial institutions, family interest groups, churches, regional interest groups, governmental bodies, chamber members, healthcare personnel, media representative, school faculty and personnel, board of education members and all other interested members of the community, organizers said.

At the end of the semester, the Drury Design Team will develop a document that will identify strengths and weaknesses of the community. The document will also identify areas where the Houston community can improve opportunities for housing, employment, education, recreation and other areas that are important for the future growth of the community.

This document will be a visioning “tool kit” that will assist in the development of the community’s specific long range visioning plan.

Mayor Don Tottingham is overseeing the process with advisement from Jay G. Garrott, Architect, director and professor, Center for Community Studies, Hammons School of Architecture, Drury University; David Beach, architect, AIA, LEEP-AP, assistant professor, Hammons School of Architecture; and Jeff Barber, architect, LEED-AP; state specialist, architecture studies, housing and environmental design.

The Drury University Center for Community Studies has completed 59 similar studies in southwest Missouri since 2001.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated on Aug. 5 to reflect a new time for the Aug. 23 meeting).

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