Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

December 10, 2013

Leaders say town needs a plan

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Cave City officials are interested in planning for the future by developing a strategic plan.

The time for the city to have a strategic plan is long over due, said Mayor Dwayne Hatcher, after Monday night’s city council meeting.  

 “You’ve got to have a plan. You need to have it if you’re going to progress,” he said.

City officials are interested in learning what the community wants for their town.

“If you don’t ask, you’ll never know,” said councilman Gary Hogan. “We want to find out what the people want because we can say where we want to go all the time and it may not be what everyone wants.”

Bobbie Bryant and Tad Long with Kentucky League of Cities spoke to the city council Monday night about strategic planning.

Long explained the importance of a strategic plan.

“It’s not because people don’t have great things going on in the community. It’s because there are a lot of great things going on in the community, and so a strategic plan just kind of prioritizes that brings all of that together and gives you a rough format going forward,” Long said.

A strategic plan also provides an opportunity to generate new ideas, new approaches, new perspectives and an overall new way of looking at things, he said.

He shared with council members some successes and challenges other towns across the state have encountered in developing their strategic plans.

The city of Mayfield started a beautification project by asking people in various neighborhoods to photograph each other when making improvements to their properties.

Those who participated were awarded certificates, and when the project was completed the neighborhoods had block parties.

“This was something that was needed visually for people coming into the city to make the town look better and to put on an appearance of pride within the community,” Long said. “It seemed like a small victory, but when you have every single resident in your city trying to clean up the city and starting in their own yard, that’s a pretty big accomplishment for a town the size of Mayfield.”

Another success story was the coal town of Jenkins, which dropped in population from 10,000 to 2,000 due to the loss of many coal mining jobs.

The town decided to build its local economy through tourism by reclaiming old brownfield sites and building trails.

The city of Bonnieville in Hart County raised $1 million in less than four years, which Long referred to as being “a tremendous success” for a town of 250 people. The money supported four to five projects for the town.

“This is what a strategic plan process does,” he said.

Long told council members a strategic plan is something that belongs to everyone in town and that everyone’s support will be needed, but the development of the strategic plan starts with the mayor and the city council.

“I have to tell you that there’s heavy lifting. Citizens won’t respond and come out and share in a public meeting or a community listening session if you don’t invite them,” he said. “I can send letters and e-mails. I can send them all day long and it won’t do anything, but if you all and your employees will help us do a door-to-door campaign, just like you are running for re-election, ask folks to come, they will turn out.”

He continued that if city residents turn out for public meetings, then, “we can get some great ideas on the table. If we can get the ideas on the table, Bobbie and I can help you be successful.”

Long also told council members that the development of a strategic plan is a long-term process, even though some parts may come together rather quickly, others could take months or even years.

Councilman Seaborn Ellzey suggested the council form a committee to discuss with Bryant and Long the development of a strategic plan in more depth.

Long pointed out every community he and Bryant have worked with has had a local steering committee to oversee the creation of a strategic plan.

The council agreed to meet in special-session to discuss the issue. A date and time for the meeting will be announced later.

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