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Make No Little Plans - July 15, 2013

July 2013

"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably in themselves will not be realized." – Daniel H. Burnham

A good plan is a critical development tool for economic development efforts.  For economic and business development purposes, it’s a vehicle to establish objectives, clarify expectations, and identify strategies for execution.  Good planning is inclusive, focused, flexible, and linked to other efforts.

Properly developed, a plan is not left on a shelf to collect dust, but will serve any number of purposes and help keep everyone on task.  A good plan will not only provide a roadmap, but can also serve as a critical tool in securing grants and funding, help to create a record of conditions and resources, and reinforce a community’s collective institutional memory.

For Connecticut towns the most well know plan is its POCD, or Plan of Conservation and Development, required by the state to be updated, completed and filed every ten years.  While the POCD serves as a town’s blueprint, it can also provide a basis for any number of other efforts, such as Main Street and town center revitalization efforts or transportation and parking plans, that are intended to retain and attract new and expanding businesses.   The POCD is also the basis for changes or revisions to local land use regulations that determine where and how business can be established and grow.

In addition to experts and consultants, it’s vital to have community input and participation in the planning process.  Whether the plan is global in nature like a “vision” project, or specific, as with parking and transit plans, it’s essential to have community input throughout the process.  To be viable, a plan needs to reflect a community’s values and character, something that requires consensus.   That will take considerable outreach with ongoing invitations to attend and participate in meetings of various sorts, a lot of listening to and capturing what’s said, well-executed focus groups or charrettes, and then taking into account everything that’s been offered for consideration.  Tapping into town boards and commissions is a good start, along with civic groups and neighborhood associations.   Depending on the issue at hand, professional associations can also serve as key players in the collaborative process. 

CEDAS is here to help its members in identifying and locating useful resources and approaches in the development of various plans and in accessing expertise and experience in producing a plan for any number of needs.   CEDAS’s energies are directed towards a common end of creating a strong economy and nurturing healthy communities, so contact us for the information and support you need to succeed in producing a plan that will lead to results.

Terence Elton  -  Town of Branford, Special Projects/Economic Development Manager & CEDAS board member

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