Victor celebrates the First Annual Wave Day!
|Population||1,454 (as of 2006)|
|Area||1.3 square miles (3.4 square kilometers)|
|Focus Areas||Transportation, economic development, downtown, engagement, demographics, development|
|Methods||Civic dialogue, online engagement, public workshops, storytelling, visioning, visualization|
|Tools||Community Almanac, CommunityViz®, design guidelines, digital storytelling, social networking, surveys, visual preference surveys, websites, workshops|
|Coordinator Contact|| |
|Project Website||Envision Victor|
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“Victor. What’s it to You?” That’s the underlying question behind Envision Victor. The perceived chasm between residents suggested sparks would fly when they tried to answer it. While the divide has not closed entirely, the project helped the community build new, sturdy bridges and discover more common ground about Victor’s Heart & Soul than anybody anticipated.
Shared values and lively, diverse public participation—ranging from storytelling events and community forums to 3D visualization and community mapping—created an atmosphere ripe for major discussions that updated Victor’s Comprehensive Plan, influenced a new Capital Improvements Plan and informed a new design for Main Street.
Caught between tradition and a rapidly changing future, Victor, Idaho is struggling to retain its distinctive character and manage growth. Between 2000 and 2006, Victor’s population grew 73 percent—almost three times the rate of Teton County as a whole. Second homeowners and real-estate speculators saturated the area, drawn by Victor’s striking natural beauty and lower property prices compared to Jackson, which sits just on the other side of Teton Pass.
The economy shifted away from agriculture and towards real estate, and challenging the capacity of residents and the City to adapt. Tourism and development, although welcome economic stimuli, changed Victor faster than most residents would like, making it increasingly reliant on Jackson and Driggs, Idaho for goods and services.
Although Victor’s citizens have traditionally been wary of land use planning, many now recognize that sitting back and letting change happen is no longer desirable. They are ready for planning that respects the region’s history and character while incorporating new growth. Envision Victor is just that, and it’s helped make Victor a livelier, more engaged community.
In order to envision the future of Victor, residents turned to each other for inspiration and direction. Through a ‘Stories of Victor’ podcast, a downtown story kiosk, one-on-one audio interviews, story circles and a story-sharing event at Pierre’s Playhouse, Victorites collected memories and anecdotes about their town.
These stories helped identify and distill five shared core values: small town feel; family friendliness; sustainability; cultural history; and connection to nature. Using these values as a guide, residents have begun to generate concrete suggestions for the town’s future planning decisions, including new designs for Main Street. Residents also compared potential growth patterns according to their respective impacts on Victor’s H&S values.
For more than 40 summers, two generations of a local family, owners of Pierre’s Playhouse on Victor’s Main Street, produced plays that consistently delighted sold-out crowds from near and far. The productions were a labor of love and a strong local tradition, but in 2007, the stage lights went dim and the ticket window closed for summer performances. Envision Victor inspired the current generation of owners to reopen the Playhouse, which now screens first run movies and has reestablished itself as a critical gathering place.
One anecdote shared at a story event recalled how locals waved to each other a lot more, and how this friendly gesture, though simple, says a lot about a community. The story inspired the EV project committee to revive the Victor Wave, calling on all residents to join in a collective effort to acknowledge each other with a wave. Students from the Teton Valley Community School stood out in the freezing cold and recorded data noting different styles of waves—the two-finger-salute-from-the-steering-wheel wave, the short-nod-of-the-head “wave,” the high-five-in-the-sky wave. Reinstituted as a sign of goodwill, Victor Wave Day is now celebrated once a year.
The City of Victor has a council form of government, with a mayor and four City Council members. The City has a Planning and Zoning Commission and Administrator. A City Code includes Zoning Regulations; Victor recently passed a Traditional Neighborhood District Overlay.
Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) is a citizens’ group working toward smart growth and development to benefit the entire community. It seeks to be a smart growth resource for local decision makers and developers, as well as to educate and empower citizens to be involved in the local decision-making process.
Teton Valley Trails and Pathways (TVTAP) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote a trails-and-pathways-connected community.