The city of Bozeman recently conducted the first of a series of meetings aimed at developing a strategic plan for the city’s growth. And by all accounts, it was a success. Those in attendance described the meeting as well-planned and productive. The seeds of ideas for guiding the growth of the city were planted.

Bozeman is poised for what could be a period of accelerated growth unlike anything we’ve seen to date. New companies and expanding businesses are bringing jobs to the area and, with that, will come population growth and economic expansion.

While those prospects may seem exciting, they also pose serious challenges — like those already manifesting themselves in increased traffic and crime. Rapid growth poses problems that many communities would like to have. But without careful planning, those problems can be destructive to the quality of life we all enjoy.

According to those who were there, about 60 or so people attended the first meeting. The strategic planning process will only yield constructive results if there is ample participation by representatives of all social and economic demographics. Anyone with a stake in the future of the city — those planning to raise families here and make careers — should get involved in the process.

And as these meetings proceed, a question that should be asked is this: Is there such a thing as too much economic expansion? Is there coming a time when actively promoting the area should be suspended and more attention paid to improving neighborhoods and renovating infrastructure we already have.

And this process will only yield positive results if city officials act on the recommendations that come out of the meetings and translate them into enforceable policies that enact the goals arrived at through the strategic planning process.

Plans are to develop a strategic plan by October through a series of meetings over the coming months. City officials — elected and appointed — are urged to take this process seriously, actively promote upcoming meetings and encourage attendance, and help guide this process toward fruitful results.

And anyone who feels their future is woven into the future of this community is encouraged to get involved.

Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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