Daniel Suddeath

Daniel Suddeath

It's great to have a vision, but it takes more than a strategy to bring a plan to fruition.

Our local government in various capacities is partnering with the Kentucky League of Cities to develop a strategic plan for Glasgow. On the surface, this is a good idea. We should have a blueprint for how we want Glasgow to look, to operate and to hopefully flourish in the immediate future as well as years down the road.

Of course, the problem with plans is that they require money. We can dream big, but if we don't have the revenue to support those aspirations, it's a waste of time to plan such improvements.

But the biggest issue with the strategic plan isn't the funding. Glasgow isn't so bad off that it can't foot some upgrades, and it could potentially borrow money for bigger projects if they are of wide appeal to the community.

No, the most glaring issue is following through on what we plan.

We need only look back a few months to the debate over funding an outdoor aquatic center for Glasgow to be reminded that sometimes, strategic plans can be a waste of time and money.

Now again I remind you, I'm in favor of future planning. But my experience has been that no matter how much you beg and plead for the public's involvement in forming such plans, when the time comes to actually act upon those proposals, often decision-makers sputter.

We, the public, had ample opportunity to weigh-in on the Glasgow Parks and Recreation master plan. There were open meetings and feedback sessions. Online surveys were circulated, as parks and city officials went above and beyond to garner public opinions on how Glasgow parks should look in the future.

The addition of an outdoor aquatic center, based in part on public feedback, was included in the parks master plan. When the time came to vote to fund the aquatic center, the Glasgow Common Council rejected financing the project.

This isn't meant to be a commentary on whether or not Glasgow needs an aquatic center. There were sensible arguments made for and against the aquatic center.

What we should ensure before we spend money on any future plans is that there's a will to implement those suggestions once they've been agreed upon by a majority of the public as well as the committees and other public boards responsible for overseeing those projects.

With city council elections every two years, it will be impossible to predict what 12 people will deem as worthy of taxpayer funding in the future. But we can have some financial commitments in place so the can isn't kicked down the road and months and years of work wasted because a new group of elected officials believe differently than their predecessors.

For example, perhaps the city council should commit to how much funding it's willing to spend on improving our infrastructure before we pay for strategic planning. If not, we could just continue to replay the aquatic center situation again and again until we all decide it's not worth the fight.

Part of the solution is you, the taxpayer. When you're asked for your opinion on how Glasgow can be improved, provide it. Seek out your elected officials and let them know how you want your community to look and feel. If there's a public forum, attend it and give feedback. These plans can't be true reflections of the community's interests if the majority of the community doesn't participate in the process.

Suddeath is editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. His column appears in the Thursday edition and at various times throughout the week. Reach him at 270-678-5171, or by email at dsuddeath@glasgowdailytimes.com.