Our View: Yes, we're ready to go forward

March 13, 2007 11:00 pm

Though there always will be naysayers, our community's civic and business leaders appear ready to move forward on . Those are the findings of David Beurle, the economic guru from Innovative Leadership Australia, after he met four consecutive days with Del Norte residents and organizations. That conclusion is something many in the community have sensed for some time, and hearing it from an outside observer is encouraging.

We should note here that Beurle didn't reach his conclusion because he's interested in our money. Beurle has told other communities they weren't ready to move forward and simply went on to cities and regions who were.

The next step is developing a vision for how we will grow. The Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce plans to begin doing just that with the March 24 visit by the Heart of Wisconsin Business and Economic Alliance's economic director. Connie Loden will discuss how her community handled this stage in its economic recovery. A couple of notes of caution, however, as we move forward:

•Don't ignore the growth naysayers. They have legitimate concerns that must be taken into consideration. While some may never be happy with any growth strategy the community adopts, they can provide insights into possible pitfalls that we need to avoid.

•Don't work at cross-purposes. We need to coordinate and collaborate our efforts. The recent fact-finding visit by California Association for Local Economic Development President Wayne Schell is an example of this. While the community will benefit from Schell's visit, it's timing so close to Beurle's visit sends a message that our leaders are divided. Further, Schell's technical expertise might be better utilized at a latter stage in the process, especially once we've developed a vision and need specifics about how to obtain it. The visit points out the need for local leaders to communicate more with one another, a point aptly raised by those attending Beurle's sessions.

Heeding these concerns will prove vital as our community attempts to find a unifying vision about what we want our community to become.