Visioning study is good investment

An open letter to the mayors and councils of Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone, Brooks, and Woolsey, and to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners:

You have been or will be asked to contribute, on behalf of the taxpayers of your cities and the county, to the cost of the Fayette Visioning Initiative. I am writing to encourage you to provide that contribution.

The details of the “Fayette Visioning Initiative” are striking. The goal as I see it is to create a concrete and specific plan that will take Fayette County, its residents, its businesses, its education system, and its infrastructure into a future that will have the greatest possible chance of sustained economic prosperity. You will find additional information at www.fayettevision.org.

My first question about the initiative was, “How is this plan different from the many plans that already exist, including plans mandated by the state?” That question has been answered.

Cities’ comprehensive, five- and ten-year plans address a limited number of issues, and focus almost exclusively on the city.

The most recent countywide plan, “Fayette Forward,” focused largely on transportation. While it contained a wealth of background information, it gave little guidance on the broader picture of where we, as a county, might want to be in five, 10, 25, 50 years.

The plan proposed by the Fayette Visioning Initiative will be broader than any of these plans. It will encompass the entire county—rural and municipal. More important, it has a constituency that is broader and longer-lived than any elected body in the county.

The Steering Committee includes city managers or elected officials from every municipality in the county as well as state and national representatives.

However, it also includes representatives of the school system and higher education, from law enforcement and non-profit organizations, and from business and industry — the largest employers in the county and small-business entrepreneurs.

The broader Community Leadership group includes more than 150 volunteers ranging from businesspersons to retirees.

The plan is being driven by many people, from many organizations and points of view, working across boundaries in a way that government cannot.

Alice of “Alice in Wonderland” fame asked the Cheshire cat which path she should take. The cat asked Alice where she wanted to go. When Alice said that she didn’t know, the cat told her that any path was just as good as any other.

Without a countywide comprehensive plan, the people of Fayette County are a lot like Alice: wanting to go somewhere, but not sure where that is.

The first question is not “where are we going,” but “where should we be going?” The second question is “how do we get there?”

Neither question will be answered without additional money. They’re not asking much, and I hope that you’ll be able to find it. I believe it will pay significant dividends.

Paul Lentz
Peachtree City, Ga.