First County Wide Strategic Planning on August 23 by Gregg Motley

Tuesday evening, August 23rd, marked the first countywide strategic planning meeting by community leaders and private citizens in Bourbon County.  I noted representatives from every government jurisdiction in the county along with major businesses, community organizations, and private citizens.  It was a marvelous event.  I was pleased that his message dovetailed with the origins of Bourbon County REDI: Community trust and collaboration is everything. Here is how we got here:


BEDCO, was started in 1992 by community men and women to bring the far reaches of Bourbon County together with a focus on economic development.  Out of this entity was birthed our industrial park, among other initiatives.  Over time, this outstanding organization devolved into a Fort Scott-only effort.  Primarily, it became a sales and management entity for industrial park lots and the dispenser of a trickle of grant money.  Steve Buerge served admirably as its longstanding Chairman, often donating his own money to the cause.


Fast forward to 2018 when several of us were lamenting the rising cost of local government compared to the declining number of tax payers.  We started researching jurisdictions that had consolidated counties with cities, or started sharing services to save costs.  We began to uncover some of the internal barriers to progress in our community, the biggest of which is distrust.  We concluded we had work to do before we can even think about any kind of sharing or consolidation.


As these discussions ensued in BEDCO board meetings, they authorized the formation of a formal committee to study the idea.  They appointed Mark McCoy and Gregg Motley to kick it off and add members from disparate parts of the county to bring credibility to the process.  We met regularly over more than a year’s period of time, researching ideas, collecting data, visiting other jurisdictions on our own nickel, uncovering pockets of distrust and other barriers within the county, and formulating a plan.  The final product is what now known as Bourbon County REDI, in the form of new organizational bylaws which brings the whole county back into the process.


While several people worked on the committee for the year+, here is the group that saw it over the finish line: Mark McCoy, Chairman, Gregg Motley, Vice Chairman, Nancy Maze, Secretary, Greg Fess, Ward Kraft, Larry Jurgensen, Uniontown Mayor, and Larry Martin, Fort Scott Livestock Auction.  I saw Uniontown Mayor Larry Jurgensen last night and he was grinning ear to ear with the realization that the event was the culmination of all our time investments.


Bourbon County REDI was born.  It was ordained by BEDCO and funded by Bourbon County and Fort Scott.  It has also been sanctioned by Bronson, Fulton, Mapleton, Redfield, Uniontown, Fort Scott Community College, USD 234, USD 235, and the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.  This is a mandate to help restore trust and collaboration countywide.  There will be detractors and naysayers, but we have the high ground.  If we stick to our mission and continually work to establish trust and collaboration, the county will succeed together.

One thought on “First County Wide Strategic Planning on August 23 by Gregg Motley”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *