GLASGOW – Three “listening and design sessions” have been scheduled as part of the effort to develop a strategic plan for Glasgow’s future, and the public isn’t just invited. Community members’ involvement is essential to the success of the planning process and the plan’s ultimate implementation, said Councilman Terry Bunnell.
He chairs the Glasgow Common Council Strategic Planning Committee that, along with others, has been working with a team from the Kentucky League of Cities, hired by the city for $11,000, to develop the process for gathering input from community members on goals for the city and then compile the information into a plan of action with some shorter-and longer-term projects.
The Strategic Planning Committee last met July 29, and it has another meeting coming up at 6 p.m. Thursday at The Peoples Bank.
Councilman Terry Bunnell, who chairs the committee, met with the Glasgow Daily Times on Monday for an update on the project. At the last meeting, the times, dates and locations for what they are calling listening and design sessions. These are meant to provide local residents an opportunity to voice opinions and concerns about the city’s future; visualize ideas with maps, pictures and markers; make suggestions and help choose priorities; and ultimately take action on those concepts.
All three of the community engagement meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
The first and theoretically the largest one will be Sept. 30 at the T.J. Health Pavilion Community Center, 310 N. L Rogers Wells Blvd.
Two additional neighborhood meetings are set for Oct. 1 at the Lera B. Mitchell Clubhouse, 1214 S. Green St., and Oct. 3 at the HERO Center/Boys and Girls Club facility, 100 Cheatham St.
“The No. 1 reason [people] need to show up is we need to show a vision for Glasgow. We need to have a plan for Glasgow in the next three to five and out seven years of what Glasgow’s going to look like,” Bunnell said. “Do we have transportation needs now? Are there infrastructure needs? Are there city services that need to be discussed? Are there housing issues that we need to look at? And all of that is, how do we want to be known in five to seven years from now? Are we going to be the state’s leader in …? And you fill in the blank. Some of the items that we mention we may be able to accomplish soon, or they may just begin projects to work on to get us to the end result, whatever that goal might be. But we need everybody to come together on the same page, so when, for example, if we’re recruiting industry or we’re recruiting doctors or people are looking to move to Glasgow, they’re retiring here, is there a document they can see that [says], you know, ‘This is Glasgow. This is our history; this is where we’re at; and this is where we want to go,’ and feel better informed, and we have educated people and we’ve communicated with people.”
Times have also been arranged for the KLC team to talk with small groups of probably 25 to 30 students, at each of the two public high schools in town. Bunnell said those have now been confirmed.
“We’re going to interview students …, juniors and seniors from Glasgow High School and Barren County High School,” he said.
Those are scheduled for Sept. 19, he said.
The difference between knowing the desired goals and committing what it will take to make those happen was also part of the Daily Times’ discussion with Bunnell, particularly as city government leadership can change – council member elections are every two years and mayoral elections every four years – and with that, the level of commitment to various goals.
“As you do any planning, we know we’re going to have short-term pieces of that and long-term pieces of that, but the more we get a community engaged in it – we want people to have buy-in to it across different parts of our community,” Bunnell said. “This is a team effort. We can’t come to it with an, ‘I want to do “x,” and all I want to do is “x.”’ I’ve got to come to it saying, ‘I’d like to do “x,” but maybe “x” is not right today.”
Sometimes you’ve got to accomplish “a,” “b,” and “c” before you can tackle “x,” he said.
“I think this would be a good road map that people can get behind it and say, ‘This is the effort we’re making and we want to see the impact that this course of action has on our city,’” Bunnell said.
And the committee and KLC team will weigh the input based on the priorities expressed as the consensus of all of it and draft it into a report.
What it all boils down to, he said, is how to build on what’s here to change and improve the city’s face and tie all the efforts together.
He also said “the city,” as in the government, “doesn’t want to be in charge of driving everything. That’s not where we’re at. We want to bring the community together and let the community then, be involved and say, where do we want to be as a community, and then we as a city, and speaking on behalf of the city council and the city as a whole, then how can we then help take that course of action. It can’t be left up to just the elected officials. It will not succeed. That’s why we have to have the swelling of the community as a whole, everybody working together on that.”
The plan will also need to be revisited periodically to see what revisions may be needed.