We Are Limited, Not By Our Abilities, But By Our Vision
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After much anticipation, the Ypsilanti 2020 Task Force will meet tonight at 7:30PM at City Hall at One South Huron Street (Open Meetings Act? What Open Meetings Act?).
There are hundreds of 20/20 committees throughout the United States. They deal with “visioning” and what better way to express such a concept than with a reference to perfect vision (i.e. 20/20). A lot of these committees were created in the 90s because in order to lay the ground work for the year 2020, policies have to be put in place well ahead of time so the vision may become a reality.
The Hillsboro 2020 Vision plan (Oregon) was adopted on September 1, 2005. it includes a whopping 46 strategies and 114 actions in a 75 page document. Document length is not directly tied to how good a paper is, but when you consider Ypsilanti’s very own Blue Ribbon Committee on City Finances’ report was only THREE pages (with a third of the 3rd page dedicated to listing the names of those involved) and compare it to the City of Marquette’s 213 page 2005 Income Tax Study, you begin to wonder if sometimes size does matter.
The Hillsboro 2020 plan called for six global ideas:
- Strengthening and Sustaining Community
- Enhancing Neighborhoods and Districts
- Preserving the Environment
- Creating Economic Opportunity
- Expanding Educational and Cultural Horizons
- Promoting Health and Safety
That’s generic enough that it should apply to every community in the United States. Who doesn’t want a stronger community? Is a stronger communities something we have been actively working against?
Those two questions apply to each of the six global strategies. Everyone wants a more vibrant downtown. Everyone wants a safer community. Everyone wants an educated populace.
Now that we have our global ideas, we need a mission statement. I propose the following:
I am Ypsilanti in 2020. I am a vibrant, confident city with opportunities for work, recreation, and learning. I value my clean and beautiful environment and as well as my proud history. I am full of spirit and partner with others to make myself a stronger community. I play a significant role in Southeastern Michigan. I am Ypsilanti in 2020.
The first action item should be to go through the Code of Ordinances and if something does not promote economic development or quality of life, then it’s gone.
Throw in a hundred more action items and we’re done.
In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see how this committee gets tied to the proposed City Income Tax. The BRCCF report is often used as the primary argument for placing an income tax on the ballot. If our vision requires money, we’re doomed.
The 2020 Task Force should list action items that rely heavily on partners. The only time City government and City staff should be involved is when it comes to setting and then implementing the supporting policies needed to make the vision a reality.
I’m very excited to see how this plays out. Back in December of 2006 and January of this year, I thought that Council would be coming up with a vision for the community. In reality, we were just setting goals. I’m not sure the committee will have time to develop a vision in only one year, but I look forward to hearing about it.
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