More than 120 local business, government and civic leaders are gathering this weekend in Crescent City to discuss how we might achieve prosperity. A continuation of economic consultant David Beurle's workshops, which began in February, this weekend's program aims to develop a vision of our community aspirations, of where we want Del Norte County to be in 15-20 years. The step after that is charting the course we would take to reach that goal.

For any such vision to succeed, community buy-in is necessary, as Beurle himself advocates. To that end, a public forum is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Cultural Center (1001 Front St.) so that local residents have an opportunity to provide input. We encourage all readers who care about the future of this community to attend. If you can't, we encourage sharing your thoughts through letters to the editor or by directly contacting your elected representative on the City Council, County Board, School Board and other bodies.

Going through some of the process that local leaders will undertake this weekend is one that community members should also think about before next Tuesday's meeting. Beurle will ask leaders to:

?Consider the key forces shaping our world and community. For example, manufacturing is shifting to the Third World and the United States' agricultural and forestry industries remain fairly flat. Baby boomers are about to retire in droves. How do these and many other trends affect opportunities we have in Del Norte County for growth?

?Consider what andquot;plausible futuresandquot; exist for our community given these trends. For example, we might develop our tourism industry. Or we might become a retirement community. We might simply ignore the trends and do nothing.

?Consider which of these andquot;plausible futuresandquot; is best for us. Which one offers the widest degree of prosperity? Which one can be realistically achieved?

No community can achieve economic prosperity without the support of its residents. To achieve that, they must be participants in developing a vision of what should be achieved. The opportunity for all of us to become involved in creating that vision is upon us.