Over the course of my 42 years in the business world, lending to hundreds of businesses during that time period, I have rarely seen people succeed by accident. Big success stories are almost invariably preceded by big planning. Yes, these plans have had to adjust on the fly sometimes, but the fact that people are thinking strategically on an ongoing basis gives them a better chance at meeting their objectives.
That being said, I have seldom encountered effective planning by communities. Perhaps it is because a 10-year plan seems meaningless to a politician whose term lasts for four years, but it is more likely because it is a herculean effort. No matter what state, county or city undertakes the process of producing a plan, the project must be undertaken by credible citizens, and the diversity of the whole jurisdiction must be considered. In today’s world of caustic social media, who among us has any critical mass of credibility left?
Despite these obstacles, the people and communities of Bourbon County must try; if we fail to plan, we are planning to fail every day. We will all wake up one day and wonder how we have drifted so far away from the best we can be.
Some communities engage outside organizations to drive this process. I don’t mind the thought of getting a consultant involved to give some guidance, but a third-party who drives the process misses the point of our own community learning to engage one another on a healthy basis and do our own planning on an ongoing basis.
What is involved in a Bourbon County comprehensive plan? It starts with a solid vision of what we want to look like in 10 years, 20 years, etc. The vision has to be doable and make sense in context of who we are now, what resources are available, and what we realistically can be; for example, it would not make sense for us to aspire to be the entertainment capital or the Silicon Valley of the Midwest.
Once we have a vision for the county, and every jurisdiction inside the county, we can begin to create processes within realistic timelines, set priorities and allocate resources. There also needs to be standards and procedures set for reviewing the vision and adjusting it as conditions change or new opportunities present themselves.
Bourbon County REDI will begin discussions of the who, what, when, where, why and how of community planning. Get ready to be a contributor, not just a social media naysayer. If you have thoughts and ideas as to how community planning should unfold, we would