To inform our community workshop dialogue on May 7th and 9th, we conducted a community outreach effort to collect what you love about Gardiner, concerns for the future, and hopes for the future. We reached 229 people of all ages and backgrounds. The summary report is available for your review. So, what did we hear?
Our values have changed very little over the decades. We all still believe in a community that lives by these values:
1. A Connected and Caring Community
We value being a community where we know our neighbors, are personal and friendly, and support each other when in need.
2. Good Stewards of Yellowstone
As the original gateway to the national park, we value the beauty and wildness of the Yellowstone ecosystem and the exceptional playground the Gallatins, Absarokas, and Yellowstone River offer as our backyard.
3. Civically Minded and Engaged
We value the willingness of people to work together and collaborate towards the betterment of our community.
4. A Unique Small Town
We love being a small town whose location and local character still respects its heritage and funkiness setting it apart from other places.
5. A Great Place for Families
We value being a great place to raise a family where we support young people through a strong educational foundation and a safe environment.
6. A Safe Community
We value living in a small town where familiarity builds trust, we can express ourselves and embrace our differences, and have opportunities to be financially secure.
Our primary community concerns are that growth in the tourism industry has put extreme pressure on housing affordability and availability causing a negative chain reaction on sense of community, the school system, infrastructure, and community cohesion.
The cost of living is too high
The character of our community is threatened
The economy is too dependent on tourism
Our community cohesion is strained
Our infrastructure is inadequate
We lack governance and leadership
Tourism is unsustainable
We lack services
We articulated a clear picture of what we want for Gardiner's future.
A vibrant year round economy
Well functioning infrastructure and high quality services
A great place for youth and families
An authentic community
Managed growth that protects the community
A strong sense of community
A healthy ecosystem
Based on the community input, we are hosting a community action planning workshop on May 7th and May 9th from 5:30 - 8:30 to address the following five key issues. Join us in finding solutions to these pressing challenges. Sign up for our project updates on our home page or follow us on Facebook as we share additional resources on strategies this week.
1. Addressing Housing Affordability: Building on the Gardiner Housing Action Plan, a recent housing profile and webinar outlined strategies Gardiner can take. Different tools are available to different governance structures. We will explore these different options and explore the pros and cons of different approaches.
2. Strengthening Our Sense of Community: Being a friendly supportive community is a core value in Gardiner. But there is a sense that people don’t know their neighbors like they used to, and we may not be as connected as we used to. What could Gardiner do to strengthen our sense of community?
3. Balancing Tourism and Building a Sustainable Economy: As the popularity of Yellowstone National Park grows, so has Gardiner’s economic dependence upon tourism. An outcome of the public input process was the desire for better managing tourism and creating jobs with more livable wages. What options are available for Gardiner to diversify the economy and managing tourism? Who leads on these issues? The group will define what “balanced tourism” and “a diverse and sustainable economy” look like and how Gardiner could work towards this goal.
4. Creating Opportunities for Youth: While Gardiner is a great place to raise a family, there is a concern that there are not enough opportunities for young people growing up nor for them to return after they leave. What would “opportunity” look like and how could these opportunities be created?
5. Protecting Gardiner’s Unique Character: There is no doubt that Gardiner has changed, but is it possible for a small town to maintain its uniqueness when facing development pressures? This group will explore different options available to Gardiner to address managing growth, maintaining community assets, and protecting its heritage.