2018 ended on an exciting note as we held three public meetings introducing Montgomery County’s first ever collaborative comprehensive plan. I hope you were able to attend one of them, but if you weren’t, I hope this article inspires you to check it out!
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to talk about new goals, resolutions, and resolves. At the beginning of each year, many people make personal resolutions for a desired, positive change. As a community, we have done that with our comprehensive plan; we have united to resolve to make positive desired changes happen in our county.
Still not entirely sure what a comprehensive (comp) plan is? A comp plan is an official policy document which is used by community leaders and citizens to articulate the long-term vision for your community, and to set goals and strategies to achieve that vision. A comp plan allows the vision of a community to come to life. It’s a roadmap to a desired destination.
Creating a comp plan is a collaborative process which directly engages community members to be a part of the planning process in order to determine the desires of a community as a whole. A comp plan is not about the wishes of one person or a small group of people. It is created using data and ideas desired by a majority.
As described in the draft, the purpose of this plan is to create opportunities for growth and improvement in Montgomery County while preserving and protecting the things residents love most about the county. While this plan sets out to promote Montgomery County’s unique character, identity and values, it also equips the county with the tools to withstand foreseen and unforeseen issues that may arise.
Our outlined comp plan includes vital information and guidelines for solutions to many of the challenges we face as a rural community. The plan gives us tools to predict trends and combat challenges in the most beneficial ways possible.
Like any decision to implement change, creating the comp plan hasn’t been easy. Often, the process was grueling and difficult. The fact that we have gone through this process, together, as a community, has made us stronger; it has forced us to come together in discussion; it has caused us to think about what is important to us as a whole with a goal of determining what’s best for our community long term. Community growth shouldn’t be viewed as scary. It’s exciting. It’s necessary. And when done well, it’s powerful.
It should be noted that the comp plan is intended to be an ongoing effort. This isn’t a “one and done” project. Rather, the comp plan provides us with the tools and guidance necessary to plan well into the future, while taking action and thriving as a community. The plan will be everchanging and if we do it right, we will be planning and implementing new projects for many years to come.
A question I often hear is “Why hasn’t Montgomery County/Crawfordsville grown?” My answer is because we’ve never made the resolution to do so. Until now, we’ve not made it a top priority. We’ve not taken the organized steps to create a purposeful plan. Counties all around us are growing, succeeding, yet we have remained stagnant. Until now. This year, we will resolve to embrace our many strengths and unique qualities and build on them to the fullest of our collective potential.
2019 is not only a new year. It marks the beginning of a new era for Montgomery County. Our community has made a tough yet bold and important decision to implement change for our futures sake. It’s a great time for Montgomery County and its people. As we move forward into 2019 and beyond, let’s continue to challenge one another with innovative ideas, new ways of thinking. Let’s hold each other accountable, challenging one another to do great things. Let’s stay laser focused on our desired outcomes. And at the end of the day, we will have achieved a consolidation of a vision the majority of our community embraces. We will have accomplished the goals we have set fourth and we will set new goals, forging ahead in pursuit of a prosperous, vibrant community that will support future generations and a legacy of visionaries.
If you haven’t reviewed the comp plan draft yet, I urge you to do so https://montgomerycountycompplan.site/. I hope you are as inspired by it as I am.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Our next Coffee with the Commish event is scheduled for Saturday, February 2nd from 7:30 – 9:30 AM at The Joshua Cup. Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/montgomerycountycommish/ for more information.
John Frey is a Montgomery County Commissioner and can be reached at john.frey@montgomerycounty.in.gov.