Carl and I went to the Atkins “Comprehensive Plan” meeting last night and really, there isn’t much to tell. The turn-out was the most remarkable thing: they were expecting maybe 20 people, and they got 80, which is good. After a brief introduction and explanation of just what a comprehensive plan is, they split us into six groups and had each group answer the same questions: 1) what positive things about Atkins do we need to keep and 2) what concerns/challenges are there for the future. All the groups said basically the same thing: the people like the peaceful, friendly, quiet feel of the town; they’re satisfied with the current city services provided; they like the low taxes; they’re glad we’re growing BUT – as the town grows how will we maintain and pay for increased city services needs (i.e. keep taxes low); how do we keep crime down; the town needs better public facilities; there needs to be more business growth (especially food) while maintaining the “charm” of our old downtown; etc. Each person got to “prioritize” the categories (this is hard to explain) so that each category ended up with a numeric “points” value, and now the city council and their consultant will look over the categories and start building a comprehensive plan. There will be more meetings as the comprehensive planning thing moves forward, and since the public is invited to be involved, either Carl or I will go to each and every meeting that we can. It should be fun.
Meanwhile, I continue to hope for an opportunity to move into the country. To that end, I attended a Benton County Board of Supervisors meeting to give them (in a nice way) a piece of my mind concerning their Comprehensive Plan. The county has a Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board, and this board is trying to figure out how to handle housing growth in the county. The Board is split into two factions: people that want to allow housing growth in rural areas (within rules and reason) and people who want to preserve all rural land at all cost, meaning no more new housing anywhere unless it’s attached to an existing town. So I went to the Supervisors and told them that I was worried about this, and apparently I’m not the only one. The most sympathetic Supervisor told me lots of people shared my concerns. So at least I was able to vent at them a little.
After the Supervisors meeting I went to see the land agent I’ve been working with. I asked him to expand the area into which we were willing to move, and in talking with him I found out that he’s on the P&Z Board. He’s of the mind that people should be allowed to have “hobby farms” and that it’s not fair to prevent single families from owning small tracts of land, especially land that’s never been or can’t be farmed (like pasture and woods and CRP). I don’t know if his faction will win the debate, but I hope they do.
And now, some lighter news – when Hannah came home from school yesterday, I asked her how her day was and she said that she made everyone laugh in gym class. (Oh, boy.) When I said “How?” she said that, during a game of matball (the object of the game is for your team to pass a ball past your opponents and then throw the ball against the mat on the wall they’re guarding) she tried to pass the ball over a girl to one of her team-mates, and she threw the ball so high that it accidentally went through a basketball hoop. Apparently, the teacher gave her “points” for this! Maybe it was a “you had to be there” moment, but she was pretty happy about it.
Today, after running all my errands in Vinton, I went to Target and got stuff for the girls’ Easter baskets. They have a “one dollar” area, and they had a bunch of neat little Easter things, like plush bunny pens and little purses and stuff, so I picked up a few things. But they also had little craft-kit thingys for a buck each, and I kinda went overboard buying the girls stuff. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had until I got to the checkout, so on the way home I’m thinking “What am I going to do with all this?” As I thought more I realized that some of the things would be great for using while camping, so when I got home I sorted through everything and set aside some stuff to save for summer – you know, on rainy days when there’s nothing to do but sit inside the camper and stare out the window, this stuff will come in handy.
I forgot to mention earlier that, during last night’s meeting, the people who mentioned the need for more (and better) restaurants were all guys. Why does this not surprise me?
Have a nice weekend!