While it's too early to fully endorse the project, we're encouraged by what we heard at the first meeting of a steering committee charged with developing a vision and action plan for Jefferson County.

The enterprise is being funded initially by local industry leaders. Its focus is not limited to creating jobs, but to establish a climate for development in all areas to make our county an attractive place to live and work.

If delivered as promised, the project will be open and transparent - important if there is to be community buy-in.

The meetings are open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend. Plans are for the committee to meet once a month.

Community input will not be sought at the meetings until the project has progressed. That will give the steering committee time to work through the issues that need to be addressed.

When the time does come for community input, those who have attended the meetings will be better informed and will be able to contribute in a meaningful manner.

In another effort at transparency, a website will be available for the posting of information. We'll let you know when the site is operating.

Studies have been conducted in the past - all in good faith - but few have gained a foothold.

This process, we believe, has a good shot at harnessing the energy of many into a plan for all.

The best chance for success will come from broad community involvement.