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Teamwork and Long Term Planning Make the Dreamwork


When discussing the idea of making improvements in a community there will almost always be at least one person who says what everyone is thinking, " Why all the red tape, why can't we just go out and DO IT?". It may seem irrational to spend time, money and a whole lot of elbow grease to create a plan, or a documented vision, rather than the project its self. To this I present you with an example project, the Ira Reynolds Park. Newly opened in 2020, this 14 acre greenspace took over 10 years to complete. What started as a contaminated wasteland of an abandoned rail yard, has turned into the pride of Susquehanna. It started as a whiff of a dream, then was vocalized as a potential just to be criticized as irrational and impossible, and was accosted with the onslaught of reasons why NOT to pursue such a large project. Through monthly meetings, continual hurdles, financial impossibilities, and the looming prospect of a long term commitment, the Borough used volunteers and a few staff members to create a plan to turn a contaminated brownfield into a greenfield.


These efforts really can't be summed up in a blog post, so the focus here is on the power of planning. The strength in numbers and the wonders of grass roots efforts that can create projects that go beyond the imaginative scope of most people. From funding, to permits and project organization, there are dozens of tripping hazards that constitute the "red tape" we all refer to. However, with a good plan, nothing can stop community progression, not even red tape.


If we can acknowledge that given enough time and dedication, big projects are possible, what is left to stop Susquehanna from pursuing a connected, safe and equitable region? You may have already guessed it, a plan. In order to tackle a monstrosity of miles of expensive infrastructure, we need to create a plan that highlights why what we are doing is important, who can help us, how we plan to achieve our goals, and a timeline to keep us on track.


Sure, planning isn't as much fun as seeing sidewalks built, trails connected, bike lanes expanded and cross walks safer, but just like the long wait for the Ira Reynolds Park, once it is completed, it will seem impossible that it never existed. Without the thorough planning in the beginning, dreams of this scope and size will never come true.


As a community we CAN do this. We may have to fight a little harder, push a little more, and focus more intently, but isn't that what we are good at? This is the Susquehanna Region, we care about our neighbors, our children and our elderly. Together, we can provide enough input, feedback and detail to make sure we create a plan that keeps us working and prioritizing projects for the next 2-30 years.

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