Long Term Planning is the
By Patti Mackey
August 22, 2007
The citizen led effort to limit jewelry stores in Ketchikan has
generated considerable discussion among residents. But before
a vote takes place that could have serious ramifications, caution
needs to be exercised. Residents must be very, very sure that
the singling out of one sector of our retail trade in Ketchikan
will be an actual solution to an actual problem.
The fact that we have a large number of Jewelry stores in Ketchikan
is not the underlying problem. Rather what our community faces
are the impacts from a rapidly changing local economy. Ketchikan
has had to be reactionary in order to survive. The volatility
of the timber industry, the politics and globalization of commercial
fishing and the rapid growth of the cruise industry has challenged
our town in myriad ways.
We have evolved into a community where many interests run parallel-
yet little has been done to take those interests and settle on
a cohesive community planning effort. Fortunately we have the
basic framework to generate an approach to community planning
that can be effective and inclusive. We have elected officials
who ran for office because they believe in the future of our
community. We have a host of local organizations who contribute
greatly to our quality of life and residents with insight and
a passion for living here whose opinions should matter and be
utilized. We have young people who will soon make the decision
of whether they stay, or whether they leave their hometowns and
their input regarding the future of this community is critical.
There have been forums, studies, task forces and strategic planning
programs taking place for several years. Everything from port
development to maintaining historic structures to educational
goals in the school system and long term needs for our aging
population have been discussed. We are in the midst of designing
a new library, we need to expand and improve harbor facilities,
and we have committed our time and money to better health care
and housing. All of these items are important. All of the findings
from the research and reports generated could and should be drawn
together to reach common goals determined by the community.
In order to succeed, this effort must get buy in from local government.
This is a task that both the City and Borough Mayor should endorse-
that the City Council, the Borough Assembly and our civic employees
must support with time, staffing and yes, some money. It must
be inclusive. It needs to make use of the information we already
have and be efficient in filling in the blanks. And it must
be a priority with a timeline and a process that makes the best
use of what has already been done.
Two years ago, the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau launched our new
brand identity, including our new tagline, which states: Ketchikan,
Our lifestyle, your reward. The continued success of Ketchikan
as a visitor destination relies heavily on our ability to discern
what exactly our identity is, and then embrace it. From an economic
standpoint, everything we do to improve the visitor experience
in Ketchikan will help pay the bills. From a lifestyle standpoint,
everything we do to better our town will benefit our residents
and secure our future.
The time has come to stop being reactionary and proactively determine
what our town will be in the next five, ten or twenty years.
The jewelry store initiative is indicative that we are long
overdue to move forward. But it will not generate the solution
to what really is the overarching need in our community at this
time. Should it go to a vote it will result in a further fractionalization
of our town instead of bringing together ideas and opportunities
for our future.
Developing a long term plan for the future of our community for
Ketchikan should be viewed as not only necessary, but prudent.
Received August 21, 2007 -
Published August 22, 2007
About: "Executive Director
of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau "
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