Planning ahead is key in growth support

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

&8220;Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.&8221;

&8212;Alan Lakein

City leaders in Chelsea are making plans to expand services to current residents and business owners with an eye for future needs.

Current plans on the table include the purchase of three acres next to Fire Station No. 1 (located on U.S. Highway 280). The station was originally built as a volunteer fire station back in the days before the world discovered Chelsea.

The city is also working on a project to install 83 new fire hydrants throughout the city limits.

Typically, when people gather at the local coffee shops across Shelby County, discussions run the gamut of topics: the news of the day, politics at home and abroad (abroad meaning any place north of Huntsville) and of course college football. But eventually, the conversation tends to drift toward growth in Shelby County and its impact on things like schools, road congestion, water availability, etc.

Talk of expanding resident services, from Sheriff to police to fire protection, rarely comes up, or at least it doesn&8217;t during the visits I make to the coffee shop.

The reasons for the conspicuous absence of this important topic are numerous, but the core factor might very well be that one never sees the real need for emergency services until you absolutely need it: you or a loved one is in a car accident, someone in your home falls or is injured or a fire breaks out.

Put another way, we sometimes put off worrying about things that don&8217;t seem to be pressing. It is usually then that fate has a way of changing those priorities, sometimes in a devastating fashion.

Thankfully, leaders in Chelsea have an eye on not just what needs to exist today, but what needs are very much on the horizon for their city and its residents.

Specialized ladder trucks that can extinguish fires in the ever-expanding commercial and residential structures in Chelsea, having room for additional firefighters who will actually extinguish those possible fires and their equipment, and shortening response time for emergency responders are all things elected leaders should consider, even when those things might not necessarily be the hot button topics of the day