Strategic plan just the ticket
Published 10:55 am Monday, October 6, 2003
Atmore must change and grow if it is to continue to be a viable place to live, raise children and do business.
Change and growth are never easy, and should be considered a journey, not a destination.
The first thing needed for a successful trip is a road map. Just as no one would start construction on a building without a blueprint, citizens and leaders need a blueprint for building up a community.
Now the town has a road map, a blueprint, a plan for getting where we want to be.
That plan is the strategic 5-year plan unveiled this week.
It is a bold look at the town, warts and all. It points out our weaknesses. It shines a light on our strengths, earmarks our opportunities. And it lists the things that can come up and bite us if we do not stay vigilant, on guard against them.
This should answer those who have said the town is short sighted. And it validates those who have said we have the right stuff to grow.
This plan is specific. It is step-by-step. It is realistic.
At the same time it is pie-in-the-sky. It says if you are going to dream, dream big.
And while it is all those things, it is also flexible enough that if during the five years it becomes obvious that something is not working like it should, it can be changed.
The reason that the plan will work is because it started where all good things any government does start. With the people that are represented by that governing body.
Residents of Atmore attended town meetings and answered when asked what they thought were strong points and weak, and where they wanted the town to go.
Those ideas became the framework of this plan.
It was not thrown together on the spur of the moment. It does not hinge on state involvement. It took more than a year to prepare and it is chock-full of things that we as citizens can do for ourselves.
It is a good plan, a point of departure for progress, and it will work if it is enacted.
Members of the city council should fully support the plan, adopt it and push its implementation.
If we are to move ahead, we must do something, and there is no time like the present.
And plan or no, there is one thing that everyone can do. The planners pointed out that the perception of Atmore is one of its largest weaknesses. That perception is with people who live outside the area, but it affects our reality.
Start right now trying to change how you think – and talk – about the town. Instead of saying that there is nothing to do, focus on how pleasant it is to live in a place where rush hour is really rush half-hour, where there are no traffic jams, few serious auto accidents.
Just changing the way the residents think and talk about the small town we live in is a big step in the right direction.
The plan gives town leaders and residents the ball.
Now all we have to do is run with it.