Visioning group bringing Caribou’s comprehensive plan into focus

11 years ago

By Nicole Duplessis
Special to the Aroostook Republican

    CARIBOU — A Community Visioning Session was held Saturday at the Caribou Recreation Center. The goal at this meeting was to develop a mission statement for the city of Caribou.
    “Much of what is happening today is work that the revitalization committee has done,” Tony Mazzucco, the assistant city manager of Caribou, said.


Contributed photo/Nicole Duplessis
    Among those taking part in another Community Visioning Session held Saturday at the Caribou Wellness Center were, from left, Jim Cyr, Assistant City Manager Tony Mazzucco, Lucas Butler and Michele Smith. The next meeting is set for Saturday, Dec. 7 and the public is encouraged to participate.

    As the meeting began, Kathy Mazzuchelli, Caribou’s recreation director, passed out a blank piece of paper to each participant. She asked that on this paper, everyone write down their favorite street or road in Caribou, how many businesses they thought Caribou had, what they think Caribou needs for businesses and what their favorite recreational activity to do in Caribou was. The answers varied when it came to the streets. The guesses for number of businesses ranged from the mid 30s to around 300. What Caribou needs for businesses ranged from retail and restaurants to event space and manufacturers. As far as recreation, some people mentioned walking, sightseeing and taking advantage of the skiing and running programs that Caribou has to offer.
    “This is part of the process in developing a comprehensive plan for the community,” Mazzuchelli said.
    After this exercise ended, the group discussed the vision that had been created at the last meeting. The vision started off as, “The four season place to work, play and call home.” As ideas were tossed around the room, many people wanted to enhance the scope of the vision.
    “Part of visioning is developing what you want your community to look and feel like,” Mazzuchelli said.
    Many participants wanted to highlight the small town aspect of Caribou. They want people who aren’t from around the area to get a strong sense of community when reading the vision. They want people to know that Caribou is a great and peaceful place to raise a family. They also wanted the vision to reflect hope for the future of America’s most northeastern city.
    “What keeps bringing me back to Caribou is the strong sense of community,” Lucas Butler, a resident of Caribou and a participant at the meeting, said.
    Mazzuchelli prepared a slideshow to assist participants in drafting a vision statement. The program described just what a vision meant. A vision describes what you want, motivates people to take action together and makes people feel determined and focused. After participants took note of this, they decided on a more effective vision: “The community to work, play, grow, and call home in all seasons.”
    Participants then moved on to the goal of the meeting; developing the mission. Mazzuchelli discussed that a mission statement must be more specific than the vision. It must include what the community wants to do and what it will do. The mission must inspire people to get things done and it has to be defining, but not too specific. She also highlighted the important aspects of creating a mission statement. By having a mission statement, it draws people to common work, gives hope to a better future and inspires community members to realize their dreams through positive effective action, she said.
    The next Community Visioning Session, slated for Saturday, Dec. 7 is intended to finalize the vision and mission statements and, as Mazzucco explained, to “develop parts of the business plan that accompanies the mission and works into the overall comprehensive plan for the community.”
    The meeting, open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. at the Wellness Center.