Why? Because if you drop the basket, (or it leaves town or someone invents a better basket) all is lost.
The firm hired by the Town of Meeker to “refresh” the town’s comprehensive plan, a municipal housekeeping task that needs to be done every decade or so, will get to work with a diverse team of Meeker residents with wildly different backgrounds, circumstances and hopes and dreams for the future, to devise a visionary plan to guide Meeker’s next decade or so.
I accidentally ended up on the committee that “refreshed” the last comp plan in 2006. I remember a lot of sticky notes and a lot of repetition. Hopefully we’re past that stage now, with all the studies and surveys and demographic information we’ve harvested in the last 13 years.
From Tuesday’s kickoff meeting, there seems to be agreement on one level, at least: we don’t want to be a mini-replica of some resort/recreational town. We want Meeker to stay Meeker-y. That’s why we choose to live here, right?
The question then becomes, what do we want and/or need to become in order to survive and thrive in the future and guarantee a sustainable community for the next generation? If—as we fear—chunks of the energy industry we’ve relied on for decades go away, what will we do to reinvent ourselves and our economy to our own liking?
Everyone has an idea or two. Most of those ideas involve promoting what we’re personally interested in and advocate for anyway, but they aren’t necessarily bad ideas. The bad idea is taking just one option, and putting all our eggs in that basket, as the saying goes.
What we should have learned by now from our own brutal boom and bust experiences with the energy industry, and what we’ve seen in towns that have sold their souls to tourism and in so doing, lost the very characteristics that made them appealing in the first place, is that there is no good one-size-fits-all solution.
One-size-fits-all may fit, but it likely won’t fit anyone very well.
By Niki Turner | firstname.lastname@example.org