Dear friends: Seven50 is underway!
June 27th was an historic day for Southeast Florida. It is the day we got together as one and agreed to take on Victor Dover’s challenge and “start the conversation.” A conversation intended to, as Neal Peirce best put it, “take command of our own destiny.” It is the day we, as a unified region, launched Seven50!
The outpour of interest for the Seven50 Opening Summit was overwhelming. Close to 550 people registered to attend the event, and another 100 participated online. Facebook “likes” nearly doubled during the event, and live tweeting was a huge success. The event received significant positive publicity in major daily newspapers, radio and television, with several key journalists in attendance (see media coverage).
On Twitter, a reporter with the Palm Beach Post tweeted, “Packed house for the opening remarks of the #Seven50 summit in Delray Beach.”
As a first sign of regional unity and collaboration, staff members with both the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils were commendable hosts of an intense yet seamless event that is the first of its kind for SE Florida.
Our partners at Tri Rail provided free transportation to Summit delegates… kudos for those who took the train (many for the first time).
Opening remarks by the Executive Committee’s Chair Mayor Sam Ferreri recognized the Committee’s efforts and dedication to date, and highlighted the importance and significance of the impressive turnout by local, regional and state elected officials or their representatives.
Neal Peirce pointed out that to support our region’s economic growth, we must invest in our current, local and regional companies and the export market, and reminded us that our region is the gateway to Latin America and is primed to play a key role in a global economy.
Allison DeFoor entertained with his perspective born out of a family of nine generations in Florida, but also his vast knowledge of the state and major regional efforts such as the Everglades Plan. He outlined our regions’ commonalities and charged us with making sure that as we plan for our future, we bear in mind the quirkiness and power of reinvention that have always made Florida special and great.
While Victor Dover took us on a trip down memory lane back to 1962, reminding us that 50 years is not really that long, Bob Burchell explained our state and region “by the numbers,” and captivated the audience with a journey to the future. The South will continue to garner the largest component of growth through 2060 and, if we do things right, Florida will be one of the most important of about ten super-regions in the country. Good things await in the future for SE Florida. According to Prof. Burchell’s data, SE Florida is poised for recovery.
Bill Spikowski both inspired and challenged with his recount of historic plans and similar ongoing efforts throughout the country.
The video booths seemed intimidating at first to some attendees, but quickly became a powerful tool for Summit Delegates to record and deliver their personal messages. Click here to view these cool, personal videos.
And finally, but most importantly, I am proud of all our Summit Delegates; they made Seven50’s Opening Summit a great success. They served as a giant “focus group,” answering questions via live keypad polling.Delegates engaged and provided valuable input in the first, loud, hot and intense meeting of the workgroups. Delegates were charged with setting priorities for a better future and leaving a worthy legacy. But fundamentally, we’ve just started. Delegates need to keep talking about this important effort with family, friends and neighbors, and help us make sure that we engage people from every sector of the population. See the profiles and demographics of our esteemed delegates by clicking here.
And so begins the creation of Seven50, our investment plan for a more prosperous, more desirable, more resilient future for our seven-county region. Stay tuned as we announce upcoming meeting and workgroup gatherings. Be sure to check the Seven50.org website regularly as it is continuously updated and your direct link for the latest Seven50 news. Engage in the on-line forums. Connect. Participate. Contribute. Dream a better future. Together, we will make it happen!
See you all soon!
Marcela Camblor-Cutsaimanis, AICP
Sustainable Communities Initiative