A couple of years ago, when I was elected to my second term as Breezy Point's mayor, I was asked by your intrepid Echo Journal reporter to write a regular piece to be published in the newspaper. I was also encouraged by former mayors Nancy Adams from Pequot Lakes and Patty Norgaard from Crosslake to do the same. Both Nancy and Patty are very good writers and can easily put their thoughts in print.
Not so for me. I am an engineer and writing something informative and expressing my thoughts and feelings is completely foreign and frightening to me. If asked my opinion on a specific topic, I would simply reply with, "It's fine," or "OK," whereas Nancy and Patty would expound three or four hundred words in neatly composed paragraphs.
So, I hid in obscurity and let the ladies do the writing. Now as I start my third term, again after being cajoled by your Echo Journal reporter, I am attempting to overcome my fears and start what will hopefully be a regular submission of what is going on in Breezy Point. So here is my first attempt.
2019 is going to be a very busy year in Breezy Point. As many may already know, we are in the process of rewriting our comprehensive plan. This will be the summer where all the data gathering and writing takes place.
Many of you, 315 respondents to be exact, have already participated in our community survey that was offered online between Oct. 2 and Dec. 10. The survey investigated various attributes of our existing city, what we like and dislike and what we would like to see in the future.
With 315 respondents, this was a very good response. Typically, getting a 5 percent response is considered as good, whereas Breezy Point had approximately a 13 percent response rate, giving us a very good starting point of what the community wants to see in its comprehensive plan. Just from the survey alone we have already received hundreds of very good comments and we have more activities to come.
On Jan. 23, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee met and internally reviewed the survey results. Some of the significant findings were:
• The city should plan for and promote the use of golf carts as a secondary mode of transportation within the city.
• The community would like to see a year-round community gathering space within the city (i.e. a community center).
• The community likes Breezy Point for its attractive and natural setting, its recreational opportunities and its safe streets and neighborhoods.
• Residents consider the promotion of commercial, retail and industrial growth as a way to minimize the residential tax burden.
• Residents consider our natural resources, Breezy Point Resort and our recreational opportunities as our greatest assets.
In addition to the above, several questions concerning how we are doing serving the community, likes and dislikes, housing needs, etc. were asked and responded to, garnering many comments and interesting ideas for future consideration.
The community survey is just a starting point that will be built upon with various focus groups and community meetings. We have contracted with Sourcewell to write the new plan and coordinate all the internal and external activities to gather and consolidate the new plan.
The first of several future public meetings will be Tuesday, March 12, with a joint meeting of the Breezy Point City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission to formally review the results of the survey and lay out the schedule and some of the major activities to elicit inputs to the new comprehensive plan.
In addition to the activities associated with the comprehensive plan effort, I will be starting weekly office hours to meet with anybody who may want to come and have a cup of coffee and chat about any topic of concern.
Again, thank you to Nancy and Patty who had regular office hours when they were in office as well as a leap from my introverted self. I will be starting these office hours from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Breezy Point City Hall (8319 County Road 11) and will continue every Wednesday for at least the next two years (and with every elected official, our future is very much uncertain beyond the next election).