Pike Co. moves closer to a plan of action

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Staff Writer

In another two months, Pike County should have a plan of action.

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has contracted with Don and Candace Hines of Horseshoe H Consulting to create a countywide strategic plan.

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Hines discussed that plan with members of the Troy Rotary Club on Tuesday.

Over the past few months, Pike County leaders and residents have joined to make up 18 focus groups that have looked at issues facing the county as a whole.

Hines said more than 100 people have been involved in the process.

"The idea of strategic plan is not new," Hines said, adding that governments have only gotten involved in strategic planning in the past 10 years or so.

Hines said strategic planning is "a matter of looking at where we are and where we want to go."

It is that plan Hines hopes to present to the entire group sometime in January after all the focus groups work out the kinks in their ideas.

He said he has been pleased with what the focus groups have accomplished. The focus groups have identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Those analysis will be reviewed by the Community-wide Steering Committee and a strategic plan, which will address issues the county will be facing in 2010 as well as beyond, will be drafted.

For example, he said he has been impressed with the quality of law enforcement in Pike County, including the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, Troy Police Department and Brundidge Police Department.

During those particular focus group meetings, the problem of drugs has been discussed. Hines said those meetings revealed 85 percent of the county crime is drug related and law enforcement agencies want to devise an intervention program involving different aspects of the community.

"These are the kinds of things a strategic plan gets out on the table," Hines said.

Another matter, he said, the Pike County Commission is going to have to address subdivision regulations.

"That’s what the group is telling them ­ ‘we’ve got to do something,’" Hines said of those residential regulations.

Another issue is the "crisis situation for facilities" education will be in five or six years from now.

Regarding business and industry, "we’re in a good situation there," Hines said.

John Schmidt, chairman of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and a member of the Rotary Club, said the planning process has brought different elements of the community together.

"What we hope the strategic plan will be is a unifying concept," Schmidt said.

So far, that’s what it has been, Hines said, adding groups have been able to sit down and discuss problems which hasn’t been done in the past.

Schmidt said Hines was the ideal candidate for the job because he "knows the needs of our county" since he lives here.

Hines was responsible for helping devise a plan for Gulf Shores and is working on one for the city of Arab.

"I think we’ll be far ahead of a lot of county’s" Schmidt said of the strategic plan that should be ready to be put into action by the end of February 2001.

Turning the plan into more than just ideas will take cooperation between leaders throughout Pike County.

Schmidt said, after the plan is developed, Chamber officials will approach city and county government officials about acting on the plan.

"We don’t intend for this to set on the shelf," Schmidt said

Once the process is complete, Pike County will be setting the standard by becoming the first in Alabama to devise a countywide strategic plan.