COEUR d'ALENE - It's like a road map to get to a more precise road map.
Steven Ames, a long-range strategic planner out of Bend, Ore., will unveil a pair of public presentations today aimed at gauging whether the community would be interested in starting to plan what Coeur d'Alene's future could look like.
One thing is certain, Ames said Tuesday at the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting during his first presentation, the times, they are changin'.
Globalized economies, technology, conservation practices: The world is moving quickly, and it's up to cities and communities to decide if they want to shape the changes or react to them.
"Maybe we can't change all of those collaborative global drivers but we can try to react and respond more strategically at the local level," Ames said. "And that's where I think local government can play a helpful and leading role."
Ames has conducted around 60 sessions for public agencies across the Northwest, Australia, and New Zealand over the last 15 years. He was brought to Coeur d'Alene to determine if the Lake City wants to extend the 2020 vision it drew up in 2000 to year 2030 and beyond.
The benefit of a vision, with an action plan to implement it, is that it creates a road map to a healthy community based on shared values, he said.
The goal would be to get as many people as possible to identify what they would like to see the area look like years from now, and how Coeur d'Alene could get there. Without a plan, communities could be more reactive than proactive, Ames said.
"If you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else," Ames said, quoting former professional baseball manager Casey Stengel.
While planning an area's future, everything from growth to business to recreation opportunities play a part. But before the community decides to draw up a plan for 2030, it must first decide if the timing is right to even begin the endeavor.
So does the area want to start the road map to get to the road map?
Some have already said the timing is off.
The city of Coeur d'Alene has begun a multi-million McEuen Field park project, and is facing elections in November. Four incumbents were the target of an unsuccessful recall effort in the spring, and some critics of the proposal, such as Frank Orzell, recall organizer, have said the timing is wrong to start planning when so much is happening now.
"We are in a divided community," City Councilman Dan Gookin told Ames on Tuesday. "How do we get everyone to show up?"
No community is without strife, Ames said. Instead of focusing on a divide, focus on "shared ways they love the community and want to make it better."'
"It takes a little bit of a leap of faith," he said.
Tuesday's presentation laid the ground work for the public presentations today.
Ames will meet over breakfast with selected stakeholders - including Orzell and Jennifer Drake, organizer of the group which opposed the recall effort - and then host a pair of public presentations from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Lake City Center, 1916 N. Lakewood Drive, followed by another from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Coeur d'Alene Eagles, 209 E. Sherman Ave.
Practice planning sessions will be a part of today's meetings.
And they should gauge whether energy to move forward with long-term planning exists.
If there is energy, planning could start down the line on how to get everyone together. In Bend, for example, more than 5,700 people had participated in the 11-month visioning phase of the process, according to reports there.
If there isn't energy, however, then the plan is dead, said City Attorney Mike Gridley, who invited Ames to town after learning of a similar process Ames led in Bend Ore., in 2005.
The goal is to have a community inspired project, he said. Without the community, there isn't a project.
"I think I lot of people feel like today is the time to start," he said. "The world has changed in 13 years ... We all know that."