In the 21st century it seems everyone is a futurist.
Oh sure, there are a few hold outs in the surrounding work cubes who would rather let the future hit them without thinking about it first. But unlike the past, which does not interest all with the same intensity, the future is like a corn dog at the county fair. You almost have to try it.
Certainly a lakes area resident can barely turn the corner without bumping into a planning session. It took some time to get to this point. And many will say the fervor with which planning is now sought comes in part from the need to catch up with the present.
For Baxter's 20/20 vision town meeting Saturday, the meeting organizers posed a few questions for residents. Such requests can fall on deaf ears as this column has noted in the past. But the effort is still worthwhile.
Questions posed include:
-- What have residents seen in other communities that they would like to see in Baxter?
-- Identify three things most liked about the city and three things that need to be worked on for the future.
-- What would a No. 1 priority be for the city to focus its vision on? Responses are requested by Wednesday. The vision meeting is set from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church. Lunch will be provided between sessions. Answers to the above questions may be sent to Baxter City Hall or e-mailed to Todd Holman, Baxter city planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his last State of the Union address Thursday, President Clinton had a decent speech. Long on programs and potential spending or tax cuts, while typically short on specifics and funding, the speech also hit a few items that are also ready topics on the homefront.
The president noted the need to confront the digital divide between technology haves and have-nots. And he spoke of making money available to preserve open space and land conservation -- especially in growth areas. Clinton also spoke of money to make communities more livable with parks and transportation.
Those are some of the topics lakes area planning sessions have produced. With all the futuristic thinking for 20/20, the next real step is an action plan to move the vision into reality. And then the question is if citizens are willing to make their voices heard and then hold their representatives in government accountable to look for the greater good.
From the president's speech Thursday, it appears the questions here are not unique, but the solutions may be. And in the end the future paints on a broad canvas.
Clinton's speech writers came up with a nice closing for his State of the Union.
"After 224 years, the American Revolution continues. We remain a new nation. As long as our dreams outweigh our memories, America will be forever young. That is our destiny. And this is our moment."
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