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Various ideas presented at Town Hall Meeting

By By Paul Keane
Publisher
A number of solid ideas were presented Thursday night during a Strategic Planning Committee meeting at City Hall.
About 30 residents from the area attended the meeting, offering ideas and suggestions on where they would like Atmore to be in the next five, 10 and 20 years. Those suggestions – along with those from two previous meetings – will now be compiled into a Strategic Plan to be used by the area.
"Several months ago, we had an organizational meeting to begin this process," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said. "We wanted to get the input of the citizens to help formulate this plan.
"And a strategic plan is something the entire community should come together on. We have to have citizens looking at the education, recreation, government and economic aspects of our community. This is the citizen's town, and we need that citizen input to help develop this plan properly."
Shell was quick to point out that a strategic plan is something that evolves as dynamics change in a town.
"This plan is not chiseled in stone," Shell said, "it is a living plan. This is not a plan that we put on the shelf and leave there. We'll have to keep working on it and developing it as things change and even as we implement some of these plans."
Shell said the input of citizens is crucial to making a plan such as this one work properly.
"We want to know what you want on your side of town," Shell said. "This is not a plan for just one part of the community, it is for the entire community. But until we get people to sit down and talk about it, nothing happens."
To encourage input from citizens, Shell then left the meeting.
"The Mayor leaves so we can have open and honest dialogue," he said. "We don't want people to feel intimidated and not give their honest opinions."
Attendees were broken into three groups to have a "brainstorming" session, with ideas written on large pieces of paper. Each attendee then voted on the three ideas they felt were most important to the city.
Those ideas and suggestions will now be formulated into a strategic plan for the city, with those plans expected to be developed sometime after the first of the year.