A Vision for Bellevue, by Mark Robinson

future-visionAs I have talked about multiple times in blogs I have written, I have challenged our council to not only cast a vision for Bellevue, but to lay out a strategic plan as to how they would accomplish their vision.

In my efforts volunteering around the community I took a look back at any communications that I received from the multiple groups of which I have been a part and it reminded me that at one point there was a vision.

In 2008, members of council, employees of the borough, heads of volunteer groups, and citizens came together. Under the guidance of respected professional experienced in strategic planning and leadership, this group was lead through a series of exercises to define a mission for Bellevue.

In my line of work, I too am an expert in business processes and analyzing system for reduction in waste of both money and time. I am very familiar with the process that they went through and the open mindedness that is required to bring a cross functional group such as this together in order to achieve a consensus on laying out a path for the future.

The groups discussed various aspects of what they thought were strengths and weaknesses in Bellevue. Once that was complete all of their thoughts and ideas were put into categories and further refined.

The categories that they came up with were:

Leadership, Public Safety Awareness, Community Planning, Marketing, Parks and Recreation, Investing in the next generation, Positive Community mindset, Reestablishing the Business District and Increasing property values

As you know, all of these categories are things that have been discussed at length by Liberty in Bellevue.

Over the next few days, I will address each of these categories for two purposes: 1) To explore what was once the strategic plan for Bellevue and what our community leaders discussed 5 years ago.  2) As I have challenged the council to lay out a plan, I too will share my own in the hopes that it spurs creative conversation and puts us on a path of open communication to talk about where we want to see Bellevue go.

I firmly support the statement of action that this group came up with and it’s now time to get us back on this track. The mission statement generated by this group was:

“By 2014, Bellevue will leverage its unique small town ambiance and city proximity by bridging tradition and progressiveness to be the community of choice in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area.”


12 Responses to “A Vision for Bellevue, by Mark Robinson”

  1. @Markie,
    Have you considered starting your own blog or organization in Bellevue? I’m sure your friends would help to fund you, hell…maybe they’ll even build your website for ya and forget to take their name off of it.
    Can you tell me a time when the current ‘leadership’ has put a plan on paper and into action? A plan that is on paper for the public to see? Last time i checked, the vision from ’08 is a good example of that. I don’t know what role (whether small or large) that Kathy Coder played in it, but does it really matter? A good plan is a good plan either way. Seems to me that unless its YOUR BFF’s plan, or YOUR plan, then it must not be good, right? Also, why are you so continually obsessed with Councilwoman Coder, it’s getting pretty weird if you ask me.

    Another good leadership trait is knowing when something is good, regardless of whose idea it is. I think the plan from ’08 has some good bones. It’s a shame that it never went into action. A lot of their data has insight of what the town of Bellevue could be by 2014. We’re almost halfway through 2013, looking back and wondering why on Earth wasn’t any of this put at the forefront of the borough planning and vision plan?
    I must ask you, and I hope that you answer truthfully. What would you rather see when you drive through Bellevue, the town that the plan from ’08 had in mind, or what you see today?

  2. Hi Mark P.,

    You are right. Technically it isn’t a strategic plan, it’s more like a strategic vision. This series of blogs that I am going to write is going to be a non-accusatory and positive series meant to inspire peoples ideas including yours! I look forward to hearing some of them.

    If you had asked where I got this from, I would have honestly told you. I remembered hearing about it years ago and went back through may emails to try and find it because, like you I had seen it and remembered it. I couldn’t find it but knowing that Kathy was involved with it, I reached out her (not the other way around) and asked if she still had a copy of it so that I could write these blogs. When I asked her for it she actually mentioned that Linda recently asked her for it as well. Can I ask where you got your copy that you cut and pasted from? It excited me to know that Linda, as our council president, was recently interested in it as I hope this can be the start of all of us beginning at the same place and moving forward together

    I hope that you read the first blog of the series. It is all about leadership. I don’t actually mention anyone’s name in it other than myself, and not only do I have hopes that council will read it, I hope my counterparts on LiB read it as well. We can all use a little reminder of what it takes to be a good leader.

    A reminder to all who read and/or comment on this blog and blog series. It’s very easy to express what you don’t like, but it takes rational thought and perseverance to move past that and start a movement in a positive direction.

    The first of the series will be posted shortly.

    Mark R

  3. Mark,

    How coincidental? After 4 years of being in mothballs, we both call Kathy Coder around the same time for the so called 5 year strategic plan? Something that no one has looked at or thought about in 4 years?

    It was built up as a 5 year plan but I see this as the rough draft for what those who attended the planning session would like to see as key actions for a 5 year plan. It was a great start but it is not worth the paper it is written on. Well, the space used on a computer. The next step was never taken.

    Where has the plan been? It has been sitting somewhere until I asked about it. The borough office did not even know about it. What has this plan done? I do think it was a good start.

    You take credit for following the key categories of the plan, however, there are many aspects of this vision you have not followed such as keeping an open mind, applaud accomplishments, no negativity and positive media plus more. The categories you say you have talked about are not new to council. Council has worked on many of the categories.

    There are many key actions in the draft. All cannot be followed. If you take on more than you can accomplish, nothing will get done. Bellevue is not static. New ideas and improvements are ongoing. For a small borough we have much to brag about. Lastly, is this blog going to start to become a positive media?

    • Hi Linda,

      To answer your last question first…Yes it is my intent to keep these blogs positive and an open forum to share ideas with everyone. I have communicated that in the comments above and have communicated that to my fellow members of LiB. These blogs are being written be me – Mark Robinson – not LiB. They are more than welcome to tell me what they think about them.

      Also as I indicated above, I too, think this is a good place to start, but we do however have to start small. Bellevue is small, and I think that if we can attract more people in the community to help with some of the objectives and engage some of our community groups to take on some objectives we can get more done that we initially think. I also do not take credit for any of the categories they came up with. I indicated that because the group came up with these, that i would use them in order to structure this series of blogs.

      We have to be very clear however with the confusion that there seems to be between being negative, and pointing out a problem. I will admit that this is a matter of perspective however. Being negative is the indication that all actions taken are horrible and bad for the community. Pointing out a problem and potential solution is what we all need to do in order to help Bellevue grow.

      I will admit that in the past my comments as well as those of others turned into back and forth battles which is where I believe you are construing my negativity from, but in these blogs I will be putting forth ideas and asking everyone to keep an open mind about them and if there is question or disagreement regarding the idea, I would expect a response to be in the form of asking a question for clarification, or in the form of highlighting a potentially different way of achieving the same goal.

      So where are we now? We have this draft done by quite a cross functional group of community members. Are we ready to take the next step? Should we pull the group back together to organize for the next step? I’m willing to help. What do you think? Is there anyway that you might have list of objectives that the council is currently working on that I might be able to help organize into the structure of plan?

      Let me know 🙂 I think you have my email address. If not I will send one over to you.

  4. When someone runs for elected office, they’re opening themselves up for criticism. If elected officials wanted to be surrounded by butterflies and rainbows, I doubt they would put themselves into the public eye. LiB has many goals, one of them being to get the town into a position where the leadership supports new ideas and progress. Right now, it’s not panning out that way after over a year of attempts from community members, residents, and of course LiB members. Nearly every request, every suggestion, and every opportunity that has been presented to council has been shrugged off. You are probably going to try to say that we approach things negatively. In the beginning, it was not the case at all…we gave ideas, offered to volunteer to help with things, and made suggestions. And you may have noticed that the suggestions are thinning out a bit, because why should we keep putting in effort to provide perspective and suggestions when nothing comes of it? When a group of people with ideas that can help are ignored, only to see that the leadership is spinning its wheels, it’s only fair to criticize them their close mindedness on taking the help that could have resulted in a step towards getting the tires out of the mud.

    I cannot speak for Mark R, I’m sure he’ll respond on his own.

    But from my perspective, LiB is not a negative outlet. I just think that so many people around here are used to the Citizen, which tends to lean towards more of an “opinion” rather than straight news (some die hard Citizen-ers may beg to differ, and that’s ok). The council videos are STRAIGHT NEWS, unedited and raw. Watch a council meeting video and then read the coverage in the newspaper…tell me how often they coincide? Just because some elected officials aren’t too proud of their behavior on tape doesn’t make the tape negative.

    If a talented group of people can come up with a plan for the town based on a study done a few years ago, why bash it? Maybe it’s a sign that it’s time to pass the torch to a younger generation with fresher ideas and the motivation and means to put it into action.

  5. Council President Woshner,
    Is there a use for the 5 year plan in the works? You said that you also contacted Kathy about it. If so, when will this information be available to the public? I’d love to see how the current council plans to use the data and information from the ’08 strategic plan!

  6. I’d like to learn more about this organization and vision, etc… thanks colleen tracy

  7. Hi Colleen,
    Which organization would you like to learn more about? I’d be happy to send you links for you, i just need to know which links you need!


  1. A Vision for Bellevue, Part 1:Visionary Leadership, by Mark Robinson | Liberty in Bellevue, PA - April 30, 2013

    […] This is the second post of a “A Vision for Bellevue” series. To read the first post, click here. […]

  2. A Vision for Bellevue, Part 2: Business District Re-Vision-alization, by Mark Robinson | Liberty in Bellevue, PA - May 7, 2013

    […] by Mark Robinson titled, “A Vision for Bellevue.” To see the first post in the series, “Introduction,” click here. To see the second post in the series, “Leadership,” click […]

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