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September 18, 2013 

Belleville leaders are asking us all to "Envision Belleville 2035," but to be honest we're having a really tough time envisioning Belleville 2015. It's kind of hard to think about bike trails, urban gardens, amphitheaters and housing diversity when you are worried about making it through the next few months.

So, like Roger Wigginton, we find ourselves asking whether this long-range planning is too long range? Will this exercise yield anything that will be more than gobbledygook in 2035?

Imagining how something will look in 22 years is like imaging today back in 1991. There was no Internet, cell phones were as big as bricks and you unfolded a piece of paper to navigate roads.

We're all for looking ahead and planning for the community's betterment, but too many factors can change the best of plans. The farther you try to project, the more inaccurate the projection. The great unknown is always lurking out there, and it will be shaped by technological change, political will, demographic shifts, crime and the dominant variable: Money.

So how about something more in the five-year range? Pools and bike lanes can fit into that. Shifting economics and priorities can be more nimbly handled.

Revisit and refresh your five-year plan a few cycles and before you know it you're at 2035.

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