Thrive 2055 is a planning scheme to roll 16 counties in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia into a single regional bundle effecting over 1 million residents. Drive distances to work, bike paths, light rail, mixed-use construction, and greenbelts will all converge into a unified scheme that is a carbon copy of plans unfolding across America. By forming a region, zoning decisions now made by local communities, will be under the authority of a powerful, regional board.
Most Polk County residents never heard of Thrive 2055. It is no wonder. Only a handful of residents attended planners’ meetings. On a recent radio appearance, a spokesperson stated that after 2 years of community outreach, planners received just 1200 completed community surveys. Of the planned region’s 1 million residents, 998,800 did not participate.
According to the planners, community members decide their plan’s makeup and the surveys are critical for gathering their information. The anemic participation suggests very few are interested. Nor have planners been forthcoming about who took the surveys. Were they stacked with the families of venders who stand to profit from Thrive 2055, or possibly groups of opponents and their friends? Why are they continuing with a so-called ‘community plan’ with so little interest on the part of the community? The planners have not answered one of these questions.
Community participation and full-disclosure about the good and bad of regional planning is fundamental if residents are to make informed decisions. Thrive 2055 offers no plan details. They claim the community decides the plan. What community? Are the 1200 who took the survey deciding the plan for the remaining 998,800?
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