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Editor, The Beacon:

Almost every issue of The Beacon includes articles covering controversies relating to new development or redevelopment proposals.

Landowners and/or developers propose what they feel is appropriate and profitable for a particular site, and often the community negatively reacts because what is proposed does not fit into their “vision” of DeLand.

The current Vision 2050 was prepared in 2009, and after public input, a report was issued in 2010 — 12 years ago.

Twelve years ago, Barack Obama was in the second year of his presidency, and Apple first introduced the iPad. A great deal has changed in the past 12 years, and so has DeLand.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the visioning process for Vision 2050 and update it now and on a regular basis to serve as a more-relevant document.

Vision 2050 has five major “do good, avoid evil” themes to serve as guidelines for the implementation of the official DeLand Comprehensive Plan. An examination of the themes on the city’s webpage illustrates how vague their application could be to specific current situations.

Points I would like to make and to ask people to consider when thinking about the vision for future growth and development of DeLand include the following:

• A vision is a destination — one that is but many steps in the same direction. Refinement of the vision is regularly needed. After all, if you don’t really know where you are going, how will you know if you are on the right path?

• There needs to be a clear vision with broad community support, and a recognition that understanding and supporting the vision and its implementation are civic responsibilities.

• The vision must therefore foster proactive behavior to support implementation. Repeated market analysis is necessary to understand how DeLand may be evolving, and could therefore be impacting implementation of the vision.

• Any RFQ/RFP process must be carefully considered and professionally marketed.

• Initial vetting for strong and experienced partners is critical for timely and ultimate implementation of vision-based projects.

• Secure leadership focused on providing a process of community engagement to continually educate and promote the Vision 2050 is needed, as well as a process to regularly refine the expectations of the vision.

• A clear understanding of the city’s strengths and weaknesses is necessary, as well as enhancing the continuing process to promote the strengths and to improve the weaknesses.

• Clearly understand the parking and transportation needs of the city, and establish a process for continued community education and engagement to assist in the implementation of best practices and realistic goals and objectives.

• Improve the public/private public-relations partnerships with governmental agencies and the private sector to broadly market DeLand, and to seek all relevant grant opportunities.

• Patience.

• And, it is critically important to remember that “good luck” in timing the implementation of the vision is simply what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Frank Schnidman



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