October 30, 2013 Edition

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Having vision

John Bland

The City of Walnut Ridge hosted a planning meeting last Tuesday evening at the Lawrence County Meeting Room. James P. Walden of Urban Planning Associates, Inc. in Little Rock led the meeting. His firm is developing a comprehensive plan for the city's future.

"Tonight, you are the city," he told attendees, which included a variety of people, including a few city officials, Chamber of Commerce officials, community leaders, community advocates and landowners.

Walden said the purpose of the meeting was to:

  • "build a community vision."

  • "make recommendations and plan for the future of Walnut Ridge."

  • "give (citizens) a voice in guiding Walnut Ridge's future, while having fun."

The meeting really was fun. The small-group settings gave individuals an opportunity to share their dreams or express their opinions on what the city needs to have a better community.

I do not see myself as a visionary, but it was evident that many of those attending the meeting do have a vision for the future. Maybe having "vision" is a trait that can be enhanced with practice. It was impressive to hear the varied dreams that others had for the future of the city.

While there were some consistent themes, each group added their own unique ideas. Some of the topics included: improved housing, upgrading parks and recreation, better and safer transportation within the city, zoning, livability and beautification, as well as preparation for growth and development.

Near the beginning of the meeting, Walden showed a slide with this quote: "Make no small plans, they lack the ability to stir (a person's) soul." - Daniel H. Burnham.

I do believe the meeting lived up to that quote, and it will be exciting to see the outcome in the comprehensive plan.

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