• 54°

My Turn, Gene Hayden: Update Vision 2020 with specific goals

Charlie Brown of the comic strip “Peanuts” once reflected on lying awake at night and asking himself, “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice said to him, “This is going to take more than one night.”

Yes, updating Salisbury’s Vision 2020 Plan, adopted in 2001, is taking more than one night. And, by now, it’s become Vision 2025, as the plan’s life cycle has played out. Recently it was reported after five years (“Steering Committee says changes are needed,” June 24 Post), the Steering Committee doesn’t know how to address the issues. And, surveys/focus groups are still being done on the subject.

Soon, it’s going to be paralysis from over-analysis. And please, don’t let politics interfere.

As an aside, what’s happened to the $500,000 county branding project?

The promise of the city’s future is offered to those who dare to walk the walk of promise, and the committee has been willing to do so. The community, however, doesn’t know all the issues they face. They can only be like Will Rogers, who once said, “All I know is what I read in the papers.” So, what might be the problem(s)?

Could this plan have turned into the impossible dream?

As the community reads the current 2020 plan, doesn’t it seem to be based on rebuilding the city, rather than working with what’s there? No one can have it all, even if there’s plenty of money and a clean field of land to build on for perfect development.

The existing plan begs several questions. First, the plan isn’t humanly and financially possible with what the city can offer. And what are the priorities? Shouldn’t there be one leader for this enormous task rather than a panel of 38? Before a plan is enacted, might it be well to prune possible existing lemons that dilute time, effort, energies and finances? Is the answer to pick one small but necessary project and do it well? Then, build the next best project and do it well. After all, from little acorns, big oak trees grow.

As life has it, opportunity usually knocks once, procrastination bangs on a door forever. With the future conversion of the Empire Hotel and the proposed downtown park, it’s carpe diem time. Seize the day and use this as momentum to get more projects done.

It’s confusing to read “should” and “we will encourage” so often in the current Vision 2020 plan, under the heading of “10 Policies.”

This expresses a wish list as opposed to a specific plan being done for much-needed projects. The plan suggests reducing the use of cars. If this segment of the plan is successful, what might the committee do to replace the tax base by losing its five new car dealerships and 17 used car outlets? Would it be best to work with what is there?

What are the city’s weaknesses? Could it be a weak, static, or diminishing economic vitality? Slow population growth? What’s the answer to reducing crime in a small city? What about the property tax leakage from no pays?

And, wouldn’t it be wonderful to promote more sales and eliminate sales tax leakage from Salisbury’s citizens who go to other areas to purchase needed goods? What are the strengths of the city/county and how can the plan leverage them? Work with what is there.

When reviewing Vision 2020, readers might ask, “Where’s the mission statement, one core vision and a key strategy to guide and propel the plan?” Where are the performance measurements? If there’s no measurement, how can they know progress? If there’s no progress, they can’t learn or make corrections.

This plan might want to reflect a directive mission of enhancing the quality and safety of life, developing a thriving economy and supporting positive activities for its citizens.

Within the new plan, hopefully, there will be operative words of cooperation, agreement and trust. The community needs to see positive results in order to hold their support. The community needs you, but the committee needs them as well. We wish the best for the group.

And, one last thing: Some triumph is a much easier sell than lack of progress.

Gene Hayden of Salisbury is retired from business and as a business columnist.

“My Turn” submissions should be 500-700 words. Send to letters@salisburypost.com with “My Turn” in the subject line. Please include name, address, phone number and, if possible, a photo of yourself.


High School

Photo gallery: Carson girls win West Regional, headed to state championship

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls headed to state championship game


Commissioners set date for public hearing on potential solar energy system rule changes


Two of Rep. Sasser’s bills successfully pass through Health Committee


Rep. Warren’s measure to allow removal of public notices from newspapers put on back burner

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs future of previously rejected housing development


Salisbury City Council hears public comments, receives presentation on Main Street reconfiguration


Blotter: Man charged with felony drug offenses


California crash kills 13 of 25 people crammed into SUV


Biden vows enough vaccines by end of May


State to vaccinate medically vulnerable starting March 24


One new death, 20 new COVID-19 positives reported in Rowan


Kannapolis man dies in moped crash


Salisbury Police chief addresses K-9 video, says officer separated from animal


Rowan Rescue Squad sets record straight on fundraising typo


City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year


County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem


Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases


Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan


Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate


Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill


COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic


Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call


Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures