Strategic plan isn’t

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 5, 2001

terminology; it’s our future

Staff Editorial

Jan. 4, 2000 10 PM

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Strategic planning is something we have been hearing a lot about lately, yet it’s something that most of us haven’t taken the time to understand.

Pike County, led by noble efforts on the part of the Chamber of Commerce, is working to do a little bit of self-examination. Call it introspection, if you will.

Small committees have been formed with the goal of taking a look at a particular part of life here

in Pike County and deciding what needs to be done to make things better. The committees are numerous – and comprehensive. What happens is people meet, discuss the good and the bad as it relates to the portion of Pike County they are examining and they are making recommendations

of things that need to be done to make life better.

From education to infrastructure, housing to highways, sewage to beautification, these committees are putting probing eyes on our community.

Earlier this week, NASA even participated in giving one committee ideas, insight and wisdom into what we can do to make things happen here.

If all of this sounds abstract, don’t be fooled. This is the most practical thing that could be undertaken. It’s where the rubber meets the road when it comes to planning for our future.

Without knowing where we are, we can’t make decisions about where we want to be. And without those decisions, we can’t plan for our future. The day is fast approaching when job recruitment is so competetive – even in South Alabama – that communities separated by a few miles are fighting one another for industrial prospects. Without jobs provided by new businesses that are on the cutting edge of innovations in manufacturing, we could find ourselves chained to dying industries as economic dynamics change. Consider for a moment what happened to Alabama with the signing of the NAFTA agreement. It’s wise not to hitch all our horses to the same wagon, or we could, as some communities are, find ourselves in hot water when we see another exodus of industry like we saw when the textile plants dried up.

But to recruit, we have to have things going for us. Strong schools are the backbone of a community. A lack of adequate transportation options could hamstring economic development. Inadequate wastewater treatment could be detrimental to getting some industries here.

Other considerations include ample andequate housing, access to good telecommunications, decent recreation for people to enjoy during their off-time and a host of other things.

So think about fighting unemployment, building safe communities, improving education and making the overall quality of life better when you hear "strategic planning." It’s all of that rolled into one package and a whole lot more. It’s our future.  

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