To the editor:
Horizon 2020 is generating a vigorous discussion regarding the future of Lawrence/Douglas County. Unfortunately, the Journal-World has chosen to emphasize the disagreements which occur as our residents work on this long-range planning document.
I believe that it would be more productive and less polarizing if the newspaper would discontinue harping on the disagreements which occur. Instead, it should emphasize that there are many opinions shared by a majority of citizens. For instance, there is the clearest consensus that Lawrence is an attractive and unusual city where we are proud to live and which we want to preserve for those who come after us.
How has Lawrence maintained its unique position when most cities are suffering from neglect? Lawrence was not pre-ordained to be a thriving, desirable city. Lawrence flourishes because of good long-range planning, the very factor being addressed in Horizon 2020. It has prospered because in the past so many concerned citizens, elected officials, appointed officials, and planners have worked hard to assure us of the city's continued vitality.
Now we are working to maintain this vitality. As part of the process of preparing Horizon 2020, hundreds of us served on task forces where we accepted the responsibility for gathering facts and formulating suggestions which would be in the best interest of the entire community. We all considered land-use in one form or another; that is what the plan is about -- how we use the land. At no time did the steering committee suggest to the task forces that we were to write a section of Horizon 2020. In fact, quite the opposite was true. We were told often that we were to consider concepts and to develop ideas for the future of Lawrence/Douglas County. We were not to be the authors of Horizon 2020. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to those of us who paid attention during the task force process that our reports were not accepted verbatim; they were not to be considered as a pre-written part of the document. Apparently those task force members who were not paying attention now cannot understand nor accept what their role was in the process.
In the months to come, the draft report of Horizon 2020 reflecting the task force efforts will serve as the basis for more community discussion. There is still time for citizen input.