This community has always looked toward the future and what could be done to improve it.
All one has to do is to look in past issues of this newspaper, clear back into the 1940's to find projects listed left and right that could have helped this area economically and socially. Frequent announcements concerning new projects that could benefit the community have come over the years from government officials, organizations and business concerns.
Many of those announcements eventually amounted to little more than a single story in the paper. A few went on to some success, but after a short time faded away. Even fewer grew to large proportions, and some of those still thrive today.
Regardless of the success of each idea, the dream behind all of those announcements are what makes a community great. Dreams are a good thing for individuals, towns, counties, states and even countries. Dreams are how things get achieved; in fact dreams are necessary to the process of success.
But the dream is only the beginning point of a future reality. Between an idea that is produced by a dream and the completion of any project or event there are a lot of things that must happen. To have success be the end result of a dream it takes a lot of work, commitment, and fortitude. Throw in a little disappointment and certainly some luck and the equation is even more complex. Finally time and patience is another couple of factors that must be in the mix as well.
Today, in this community, there are a dozen good ideas for projects that would benefit our county economically or socially. Right now, I think there are more groups working on more ideas than I have ever seen in the past. That is good, but it can also have its down side.
As a photographer for the newspaper, one of the things I must always do when taking a shot is to know how to focus my efforts on a scene or scenes that are the most important at an event. Sometimes I miss the mark, or can't find a focus. Sometimes, on a technical level, the composition of the photo is good, but my focus, due to movement, lighting problems or other complications is off. That kind of a photo is often unusable.
The process of taking a good, usuable photo can be compared to planning and executing a successful project. It illustrates my concern about many of the ideas and even projects that are off the ground in our community. I wonder if we as a group need to come to agreements on a focus, rather than being as scattered as we sometimes are when it comes to new ideas.
Right now, off the top of my head I can name almost a dozen projects that various groups in the county have either proposed, are in the planning stages or are actually under construction. Some of these are backed by the county or the cities, others are operating more in the private realm, looking for ways to complete them by getting help from other sources. Money to develop a project, is of course, always the biggest sticking point in any new idea; and that is always in much less supply than the advice from "experts" who want to see projects go forward.
Maybe it is time for us, as a county, to examine our focus. Can a county of less than 20,000 people expect to build and put up all the buildings and venues that every group thinks we need, and have it be worth the time, effort and money we put into them? Can all of them really be successful, or are we just throwing a group of projects at the wall and hoping one or two of them will stick?
Or is there another path we should examine, one that has a better chance of return on investment than others? It would seem many eggs in a basket are certainly better than a few, but if the basket gets knocked over, who pays for the eggs that get broken?
I think these are questions we as citizens need to ask, and ask soon.