Importance of city planning may not full realized until years from now


By Brent Frazier, mayor City of Pelican Rapids

So when is the best time to plant a tree?

Please realize that we are not talking about a season of the year, but we are referencing to time over the long haul.

And the answer is (drum roll please)….the best time to plant a tree was yesterday.

As with the growth of a tree which takes years or decades, so the same situation applies to many aspects in our lives. 

When planning for retirement, it is of poor judgement to wait until one is 66 years of age. When planning a summer’s vacation, one needs to plan months in advance to secure transportation, lodging and tickets to venues of interest. When planning a wedding, a bride will plan a minimum of a year in advance. As a student, it is wise to begin studying for a test when one becomes aware of such instead of cramming for it the evening before testing day. When wondering if one’s snow blower is ready to function, it is smart to check it out a month or two in advance instead of waiting until the morning after a significant snowfall. 

The list can go on and on and on through life, and it surely does!

As a parent, we always hope and pray for what is best for our child. We not only hope and pray, but we do some pre-adult planning for our children. 

In March 2000, country singer Lee Ann Womack released a hit song entitled “I Hope You Dance.” The song became the Country Music Association Award winning single for the year of 2001. 

In this song, Womack sings to her daughters about her hope and dreams for them and their future. The song and words are deeply understood by anyone who has been a parent or child (and I believe that includes all of us). 

We always wish the best for our family, our friends, our city, our community and our nation.

So if we wish for the best for all, we probably are involved in the planning for all if we acknowledge it or not.

Planning for our city and community is somewhat the same, but then again quite different than planning for our family due to the many more individuals, their interests and many moving parts.

But in all reality, we do hope and dream for the best for our city and community.

Planning for our city and community involves many logistics relating to planning and zoning. In essence, what type of city and community to we wish to visualize in the future to meet the needs of our citizens and visitors?

It is all a lot easier and simpler when city and community leaders come together and “brain storm” to plan a future city or development within the city from the very beginning (which is very unique).

When a city is sprawled-out with erratic city limit boundaries, the planning situation becomes much more complicated. 

In many instances, existing residential, business, commercial and agriculture have become a hodge podge of different structures are somewhat intertwined which have created complications as to what was the intent for a neighborhood or areas of the city.

The infrastructure may need to be replaced, enlarged or extended. Drainage of precipitation from an area may become inadequate and therefore rerouted in a different direction. Topical features may need to be altered to fit into a specific site plan for future housing plans. 

It may take several years to actually “reap the harvest” of our hoping, visualizing and planning for our city and community.

We realize that these planning steps are needed far in advance before they become a reality. This is like the scenario of planting a tree. The best time to plant or plan was probably yesterday, but today is not too late. It truly is not too late. 

As planning for the City of Pelican Rapids continues to advance by the hoping and visualizing of the City of Pelican Rapids Planning Commission, Pelican Rapids Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and the Pelican Rapids City Council, we take notice that we are not planning for today, but for the future of our descendants, citizens and visitors of Pelican Rapids. 

Thank you to all that continue to strive in hoping, visualizing and planning for the future of the community and City of Pelican Rapids.