PubPenForward Ho!!  No doubt about it, this community has much to look forward to. The groundwork has been laid for a myriad of projects that will make a real difference in the quality of life for local citizens. However, we must be prepared and capable of mobilizing and utilizing our resources, time and talent in the most positive and productive way to bring these to fruition. This means assessing our options and opportunities countywide to achieve a better community and getting into the proper mindset and achieving these objectives in a timely manner. Sure, it will take hard work, a forward-thinking group of leaders and, most of all, cooperation between our city and county elected officials who will need to focus on the opportunities at hand. Both would be well advised to stop playing “old school” politics where important leadership positions are concerned. Currently, many observers are scratching their heads at the county’s recent assignments and appointments, perceiving them as gratuitous “go along to get along” entitlements. Not good. To move Fayetteville and Cumberland County forward, both entities must come to grips with 21st century realities that will directly impact this community’s future. 

There is so much to do and so many needs that should be addressed. And, we need to do it –  NOW! It begs the question: What are they waiting for? They, of course, being our city and county elected officials and staff. Does anyone in local government realize that at the snail’s pace we are operating at to address local issues that a child born in January 2017 will be in high school before the completion of projects already approved or deemed vital for the success and betterment of the community: i.e. splash pads, tennis courts, athletic fields, senior centers, swimming pools, river parks, a baseball stadium, a downtown performing arts center (or new Crown Theatre), the  Civil War History Center, a 911 consolidated call center,  storm water-sewer extensions and, in view of the sheriff’s recent retirement,  consideration and feasibility of countywide policing? Whew! 

Again, what are they waiting for? My final point: We need jobs! We need business and industry. We need to reverse Cumberland County’s declining population trend. We desperately need to attract economic development, and we need to set priorities. Now. Does anyone really think splash pads will attract businesses and economic development to our community? Or, that industry will locate here on the “if we build it, they will come” promise of a performing arts center? The answer is no! 

We need new energy and a strategy from our leadership. We need new ideas. We need people with vision who are focused on doing things and getting things done. And, we need to replace those elected officials whose definition of success is making sure we maintain status quo, meaning everything stays the same. Well, that’s pretty poor foresight and neglective pathetic management. We deserve better and should demand better. Vision 2026 is a movement in the making. Its purpose is to accelerate these essential projects, to recognize and acknowledged true leadership and to hold the rest accountable. Vision 2026: The time is now. Stay tuned. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly

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