I say that as a stubborn optimist who feels good about where Milton is now and where we’re heading. But I’m a realist, too. If you’d told me 12 months ago what would happen in 2020, I’d have laughed, cried, or a little of both. There is only so much that we, as city leaders, can control. Still, we’ve worked to build a strong foundation. And we know we cannot stand still, especially after this past year. Change is everywhere. For Milton to become an even better version of itself, we must prepare and act.
To this end, the City of Milton is in the middle of crafting two crucial, forward-looking plans to guide policymakers. The Strategic Plan should be completed first in February. This big-picture document outlines city strategies over the next five years married with measurable goals, objectives and projects for each government department.
Next comes Milton’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan, to be finalized by late summer. As its name implies, this has a large, inclusive scope touching on what city government now oversees and exploring what more it can do (like, hypothetically, new parks, recycling options or bike lanes). The idea is to imagine what Milton should look and feel like in two decades, then match policies, projects and priorities to turn that vision into reality. We’re urging people to share their thoughts at www.cityofmiltonga.us/engagement and participate in upcoming forums, knowing public involvement is critical to the 2040 Plan’s success.
These plans update previous iterations and demonstrate Milton’s deliberate approach as evidenced by our conservative budgeting and methodical buildout since our 2006 incorporation. We are determined to remain smart and true to our identity while staying ahead of the curve (so we don’t fall behind and lose what makes Milton special).
Even amid this pandemic, we’ll work hard in 2021 to accentuate what many residents value most about Milton: our natural beauty and rural heritage. Providence Park should soon get a new ADA-accessible trail, bathrooms and pier. In addition to renovating the clubhouse for recreation programming, we hope to build a trail through the “passive” part of the former Milton Country Club. This is the crown jewel of our “greenspaces” — made possible by voters — that we’ll open more and more to the public.
We will also explore equestrian zoning and other changes to help preserve the rolling pastures, wooded lots and bucolic settings that distinguish our city. Where building does occur, we’ll take pains to ensure its appearance properly reflects Milton. You see that in what’s going up around Crabapple. And, like our new Public Safety Complex, even the rebuilt Fire Station 42 will be distinctly Milton, resembling a country barn more than a non-descript garage.
Ironically, Milton’s greatness makes our challenges greater. People want to live here because it’s a warm, family-friendly, picturesque place that’s not cookie cutter or overrun by development. We cannot lose that.
That’s why we’ll evolve while embracing what makes us unique. That’s why we’ll pass on allowing just any development, and instead take a more conscientious, measured approach. That’s why we will come together as a community to do what’s best for all of Milton.
Our city is committed to charting our own path. And I’m excited for the journey.