Developing a comprehensive plan is a long and challenging process; however it represents only a token of the real work involved. The true effort must be expended in implementing the goals and recommendations from the comprehensive plan. While just going through the planning process can be beneficial in opening lines of communication and identifying issues, it will not have a real impact on a community if the plan sits on a shelf and gathers dust.
The Blanco plan is based on a foundation of citizen involvement and input. Residents participated throughout the process, the recommendations reflect their concerns and priorities, not what outsiders might think is appropriate for Blanco. This level of citizen participation must continue during implementation to make the plan a success. There are a number of projects that are designed for citizen action rather than city government. Residents also must be active to ensure the City Council follows through on those things that fall into City responsibility.
There will be significant challenges to implementing this plan. One is limited resources at city government. This plan reflects that reality by focusing much of the work on local organizations and residents rather than relying on city government. Also, the plan is long-term, allowing for adequate preparation and funding to be identified before major projects are undertaken. Another challenge is the fear of change. Blanco is a well-functioning community with successful local businesses, excellent schools, and a good quality of life. This plan is not an attempt to reinvent Blanco; rather it builds on the existing strengths of the community and lays the groundwork to ensure that any change happens on local terms rather than being dictated by outsiders. Another roadblock is the fact that the plan reflects a large amount of work, and it may seem overwhelming. Residents may feel that they do not know where to start. This plan attempts to minimize that through this implementation guide which lays out in very specific detail what should happen, when it should happen, and who is responsible for it. If there is question about where to begin, the following pages should answer that.
Finally, the biggest hurdle to implementation is lack of communication and coordination among the different organizations and groups in Blanco. Blanco is blessed with many passionate individuals who all want to make Blanco the best community it can be; however, these different groups have different agendas and priorities which often come into conflict. This plan may help to alleviate this because it is a community wide plan. It is based on broad public participation rather than being simply geared towards one interest group. There has to be on-going communication between all residents to ensure successful implementation of the plan. It is strongly recommended that a regular community roundtable be held, where representatives from the different organizations can meet and share what is happening with their groups. This does not have to be a formal exercise, rather it can be a casual lunch meeting held quarterly where ideas and issues can be discussed openly rather than waiting until a crisis occurs.
The comprehensive plan is not a static document; it must be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the community. If an employer with 100 employees locates a business in Blanco, there will be a change in priorities and things that should happen. The plan should be considered a guide for action, but must be kept current. It should be reviewed annually by the City Council and Steering Committee, with involvement from other groups. This review will identify those projects that have been completed and new ones that need to be undertaken. As Council members, Chamber of Commerce presidents, etc. change, the replacements should be educated on the plan so they understand its role in guiding their decision making.
As mentioned, this plan builds on the strengths of Blanco, it utilizes the strong commitment of its citizens and their willingness to be involved in bettering their community. It reflects the values of area residents, and identifies opportunities to protect those qualities its citizens cherish while enhancing the quality of life. By acting now, Blanco can be prepared for growth that is rapidly approaching and the changes associated with it. Blanco will change over time; this plan will ensure that change is driven locally, not dictated by those who do not have the best interests of Blanco in mind.
Download the Implementation Guide: