Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg Mayor Mike Gillette announced his plan for the future of Lynchburg in his first State of the City address.
The Mayor also spoke of the city's biggest challenges and successes he's seen in his first term.
Gillette came in as mayor right around the same time as the infamous derecho. He says it was what he learned then, about Lynchburg and its people, that gives him optimism for the city's future.
"When the excitement and challenge of the derecho receded, it left time to consider a question; what is a community?"
That was among many questions new Mayor Mike Gillette would ask about Lynchburg.
"How will we manage a population of 100,000? How will we properly handle land use issues within the confines of our 55 square miles? How willing will we be to adapt to changing pressures?" he asked.
And as Gillette looks to the city's future, he has one big request: plan for the future its residents want.
"It is time now for city council and the city of Lynchburg to develop a true strategic plan for our future and for the welfare of generations to come" he said.
Gillette says the city does face a lot of concerns; a growing population, an aging infrastructure, and an increasingly competitive global economy.
So, he says, we must be prepared, "That's going to take some planning. It's not going to happen by accident, it's not going to happen by itself, and if we let it happen by itself, we may get results that we don't like."
City council coupled with the planning commission will implement a strategic plan looking long term for Lynchburg, aiming to solve problems proactively, rather than reactively.
"This year will be no different than years that have come before and which will come after in so far as we must face our collective challenges intelligently, and bravely" he said.
Gillette said now is the perfect time to tackle this plan. The city is looking at a zoning law re-write and the school system has implemented its comprehensive plan.
He said this would bring the city's vision for the future, full circle.