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Leadership wants to know

Leadership Harrison County has a vision.
And on Monday, Leadership “leaders”‘ persuaded county officials to buy into their concept.
It was either that or continue to struggle with the balancing act created by the multiple, million-dollar dreams of others.
Carol Branham Conklin, who chairs the Leadership Harrison County board, explained the proposal. Leadership wants the community to take part in a survey to determine where Harrison Countians want their community to be in the year 2016, when Indiana turns 200 years old.
Carrying that proposal further, Leadership intends to review and update survey findings each year because most needs change over time.
The Harrison County Community Foundation pledged $25,000 for the study, if county government would buy into the project with $24,000, to pay a consulting firm, Strategic Development Group (SDG) Inc. of Bloomington, to help develop the plan. It’s expected to take about a year.
SDG representatives Scott Burgins and Mark Keillor appeared at the Harrison County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday to explain the process so the board could decide whether to seek riverboat funds for the project from the Harrison County Council.
“I’m not 100 percent on board, but, at the same time, I can see the need,” said First District Commissioner James Goldman, after the board had, once more, listened to a growing number of riverboat revenue requests.
One request was for $8,000 to replace the roof on The Next Step building, a non-profit agency that helps alcoholics and other drug abusers turn their lives around.
Goldman noted that Harrison County Hospital has plans to relocate, and if that happens, the vacated building could serve those needs, the needs of a half-way house proposed by New Beginnings, and other needs as well. But, he said, someone needs to tie all those proposals together.
“We need to evaluate where we are and the best way to get from Point B to Point A,” he said. “There are too many people deciding what they want without looking at the community as a whole.”
For those reasons, Goldman moved to seek the funds from the council. “And that’s a 100-percent turnaround for me,” he added, matter-of-factly.
Seconding the motion, Commissioner J.R. Eckart said the costs is not the issue, but rather what the board would receive in return for its investment.
“I would welcome this if it is a long-term visionary type of plan that tells me in 15 years, we will need … ” he said. “I don’t want to fund something that’s going to be a historic document.”
Eckart said he also doesn’t want this study to become “the study to study all studies.”
Conklin and the consultants told the board that the project will be on-going, and a report will be provided yearly.
Eckart told the consultants, “I’m going to trust that you guys oversee it.”
“Faith will move mountains, but you have to keep pushing as you go,” board chair Terry L. Miller told Eckart in an aside.
Miller said his main concern is that the study will reflect everyone’s wishes, and the county will be expected to provide funds for non-government projects, or incur the wrath of constituents.
He was told other funding sources would also be included when appropriate.
The council is expected to hear the request at its planning session April 22 and act on the proposal at the May 13 meeting, after advertising requirements have been met.

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