When it comes to growing a successful community, vision and leadership go hand in hand. Our town has witnessed numerous instances of community leaders transforming visions into reality. The recreation facilities, Little Green on the Prairie Park, Lyceum Theatre, Kreative Kids Early Learning Centre, and Autumn House are just a few of the projects that occurred as a result of visionary leaders advancing their positive visions for the community's benefit.
It is not always easy to turn a vision into a reality in a community. In some cases, it may take some time for people to see the vision. When I was first elected to the town council, the new subdivision had just been completed and no lots had been sold. Many people told me that the subdivision was a waste of taxpayer money and that no one would ever buy a lot. Because I was not involved in the decision to build the subdivision, I could have taken the easy route and told them I would never have supported the subdivision's construction. But that would have been a self-serving response, which is not who I am.
I recall one particular conversation in which I was informed that the Centennial Subdivision was a complete waste of money and asked if I would ever support the construction of another one. I explained that the Town Council needs to have a plan for growth and sustainability to help curb the loss of rural family farms that has and continues to occur. The loss of family farms has impacted our schools, recreation facilities, and downtown businesses. I explained that if council does not embrace planning for the future, we will continue to watch our community decline. I'm not sure whether the individual agreed with the explanation, but it is the hard truth.
Although the subdivision was not our council's vision, we worked diligently to sell the lots. As lots were sold and new homes were constructed, the public could see and support the creation of the subdivision. The vision became a reality because of the leadership and vision of the council that built the subdivision and the following council that helped market the subdivision.
Small towns like ours today have a variety of issues that make long-term viability a significant challenge. The long-term success of our community will depend on how well we can get past these problems with a shared vision and good leadership.