Granby needs a blueprint for its future

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Over the past several months, my husband Bill Regan and I have made written and oral comments, as well as commenting at public sessions, all directed to the Board of Selectmen relevant to various projects and their processes that impact the town’s economic and development future.

The core of these comments and observations was to stimulate a marketing plan as recommended in Granby’s Plan of Conservation Development (POCD) instituted and submitted to the state in October 2016.

There appears to be some movement toward that end, but it is painfully slow. Currently there is in the works a POCD Implementation Committee. This committee should include one to two members of each relevant board, (P&Z, the prior 2016 POCD, BOF, Development Commission, a liaison from the BOS and up to four members of the town, not currently on boards), who have the skills and experience to be constructive and represent the voice of the citizens. Anyone who is interested would submit an application/resume and be interviewed by the existing committee. This grouping was also recommended in the 2016 POCD.

I would hope that, although an updated POCD is not due to the state until 2026, that the current one would be updated and then the committee would proceed to step B—a marketing plan that represents Granby’s Blueprint for the Future.

The plan’s structure must include a mission statement, clearly stated objectives that support the strategy of the mission statement, tactics and timelines to meet those goals. We cannot continue to wait for submitted proposals that have no deadline or wait for submitted Requests For Proposals (RFPs) that are not broad enough to target a market that would actually generate cash flow and subsequent revenue. Open space is fine, but commercial enterprise is needed to take some of the financial burden off the private sector with higher costs and an ever-increasing mill rate. 

The marketing plan should include Plans A, B and C so that if a timeline is up and no agreeable resolution is reached, a second and third option could be taken into consideration.

If we are not careful, we’ll be sitting in workshops and public sessions leading up to the 2019-20 budget referendums still wondering what to do about Kearns School and the East Street Farm while meeting the responsibilities of fixed costs and ever rising special education dollars.

The Town Charter was last revised in 2012. Perhaps consideration should be given to what might be amended or updated to meet a proposed marketing plan’s objectives as preparation for the next review. 2019 might a good time to initiate proposal points for the next review process. 

Strong and intensely insightful administrative leadership will be necessary to keep all of this in mind, on track and on time to keep Granby ahead of the curve.

Patricelli-Regan is president of Foxfield F.A.R.M. Foundation, a 501C3 charity, host of CT Valley Views TV program and former senior marketing VP for Diageo North America.