Archived Story

A comprehensive long-range city plan needed [UPDATED]

Published 9:57am Monday, October 29, 2012 Updated 11:58am Monday, October 29, 2012

All mayoral and council candidates were given the same five “hot issue” questions regarding Fergus Falls to review and think about prior to being them being asked in our respective Forums. A number of other questions were submitted by concerned citizens during the Forums. All questions were answered.

Question number five addressed the future of Fergus Falls. “How would you describe Fergus Falls in 2020?” That is only eight years from now. Frankly, I had given little thought to this question or the other four questions until they were presented to me.

By asking questions and listening while door-knocking and listening to what other candidates had to say, it became very clear that the City of Fergus Falls does not have a Comprehensive Overall Long Range Plan.

Now I’m thinking, without an action plan, how does Fergus Falls get from Point A (today) to Point B (20 to 30 years from today)?

This became the main point of my presentation. I based the other questions we were asked within that context and action plan.

Now I would like to ask you, the reader of this Letter to the Editor, to consider the same five questions starting with question number 5. How would you describe Fergus Falls in 2020?”

It is my suggestion that before we can adequately answer question number 5 we need to first develop a Comprehensive Overall Long Range Plan for the future of the City. Then we can encompass the other four Hot Issue items on the list and the questions regarding other issues submitted by concerned citizens within that plan.

The other four Hot Issue questions are:

1. There are Large fluctuations in Local Government Aid (LGA) to the city and the City’s budget priorities have been affected. How would you handle this?

2. What top three City services need addressing and why should these be priorities?

3. The Kirkbride building is in flux. Given three options below — please indicate your preference and explain how you think this is a workable solution:

A. Save the Tower Only

B. Save the Entire Complex

C.Total Demolition

D. The City’s 2013 budget is just over $37 million annually. Please tell us about your budget and finance experience and how you would be a fiscally responsible candidate? So how would you, the reader, answer these five questions?

Other questions submitted by concerned citizens included streets and roads, infrastructure, library, adequate water pressure in the South Part of town, a second fire station, annexation and several other good issues.

It appears there are also various entities within the city that have their own agenda on one or two priority items that they would like to see placed at the top of the list.

I would submit that at the present time none of these entities, concerned citizens, the City Council and the School Board are really working together to achieve our individual and collective goals to make Fergus Falls a better place for us, our children and grandchildren to live in in 2020 and beyond.

In order for our goals to be better achieved I would suggest that we all need to be willing to come together with a facilitator, sit down and develop a flexible Comprehensive Overall Long Range Plan that will encompass all of these issues and good ideas that have been put forth during these pre-election days.

We just need to take the initiative and do it. Develop our future plan for Fergus Falls and work our plan.

I am open for your comments, ideas and suggestions on how to develop this Comprehensive Overall Long Range Plan for Fergus Falls. How can we better prioritize all the issues and maximize all the wonderful assets we already have for a better City to live in today and for tomorrow?

 

Wally Cole

Fergus Falls

3rd Ward Council Candidate

 

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