Writing the Story of our Town

If you want to know where the story of our town will take us in days to come, good news…there is no need to wonder; much of it has all been penned for you in the Comprehensive Plan (2008). After all, why do you think they call it a PLAN. It’s their go-to guide of sorts. One of many “handbooks”, so to speak, whereby the plot of the story of our town unravels before our very eyes.

They are telling us who they are, what they plan to do and how they want to mold our lives. In a good story this is called foreshadowing. It is meant to give us a hint at what’s to come. I suggest we take those hints because much of the rest of the story is a stealth operation where the details are hidden within the lives of the characters and their daily antics. Believe them when they tell you, through this foreshadowing, what the story will be bringing our town and each of us personally in the days ahead.

I’m not sure if this document (comprehensive plan) reflects the latest changes made in August regarding proposed projects through the next few years and the source of funding for those projects (think: grants), but you will gain from it the gist of what our town STAFF is in love with and how they are morphing our town in the spirit of this present age (and by my account, this is not a positive).

Right from the outset, the plan states that it is a flexible document that can adapt to our town’s changing needs. From the looks of it, someone seems to have felt the need for and made quite a bit of that CHANGE already. You’ll see what I mean when you get to page 7 and 8 or so and then throughout. The strike-throughs tell where we’ve been and where we’re heading in accordance with town amendments to the document. Interesting what’s been ditched and added. Interesting how the pretty terms found within can have a huge impact on projects and plans the town will propose in the future. They are so very patiently writing a story into place.

Putting that flexibility to work for us

The good news is that if this plan is indeed flexible, I suggest we get reading and deciding for ourselves where we would like it to bend and change rather than waiting on STAFF, with their sustainable development plans, to continue to write the script for us. Let it take orders from us for a while. Rather than always following after them as they drag us into mess after mess, such as with the current Marina Development scenario, in which they point to the Comprehensive Plan left and right for its guidance, why not get on the proactive side of things and let them follow after us and our plans instead. After all, we own this town.

Writing our own story

It’s time we quit REACTING to what THEY have set into motion on the street where we live. WE pay THEM to do OUR bidding. Isn’t it time we start ACTING instead of REACTING and write our own scenarios instead? It’s time we, as residents, begin to pick up our pens and write the story of our town in the image we have of the place we want to live rather than trying to fit ourselves around and within the foreign land they are creating, one that often seems devoid of common sense. To do that, we need to read and understand their comprehensive plan and other town documents, know the premise behind them and the direction they are taking us. Then we must decide what we want and begin to write our own script rather than the one they have been writing for us to follow along with like mindless sheep.

It means a call for leaders

To do this, we have to take upon ourselves the leadership of our town. We, the residents, ARE at the top of the organizational chart. We must take responsibility, and we don’t need an official position or title to do so. We are the bosses. We write the checks to our STAFF. It’s time we start acting like the ones wielding the pen and the ‘say so’. We have for too long allowed our STAFF to call all the shots as if we are powerless to intervene in our own town. This is ludicrous.

There are many corrections that need to be made in Lake Park, but we won’t know what those are in the grand scheme unless we know and consider carefully what has been and is going on beyond project particulars. The comprehensive plan offers some insight. It literally shows how overall town plans are changing. It’s not an end all be all, but taken along with everything else going on and the uses the town makes of it, it tells quite a story. There are many other documents which do so as well; meeting minutes from the past year, the agenda from the P&Z meeting Monday, and most town agendas for that matter. What’s going on is written all over those pages. With the point of every directing finger they wield, STAFF shows us who they are. One day at a time, we need to read, watch and gain an understanding of the foundation being created. We have to know who we are up against before we act, not just specific projects they want to implement but the backstory of why and what they will do next…who they are and what their vision entails.

What about you?

Waking up is the first order of business. The next is to know what you believe, know what you want and make the choices to get there. Decide the kind of person you want to be and the kind of town you desire to live in. What are you made of? Are you a wimp who will cower to the great and powerful OZ (I mean, STAFF of Lake Park) (that would be sad) or are you able to stand on your own two feet and defend not only yourself, but those in your neighborhood as well.

Write your ideas down, because only after we take stock of things will we be able to grasp what needs to be done to create and keep the life we want in our town.

Strength, leadership and effort will be required. Coming together as neighbors is a must, willing to get out past the front step and onto the block and even down the street a ways. Then the story we write for ourselves will be worth it.

Here you go:  Comprehensive Plan 2008

Happy reading if you dare. Happy reading if you really care.

Related post: Not Without Coffee, from August 15th that points out a few of the comprehensive plan particulars.