Governent Works: Planning on the Piankatank

photo: Homes & Land

The Middle Peninsula, a rural stretch of river land easing from Tappahannock to Deltavillle, has always been a part of my life. My childhood summers were spent on the Rappahannock and Piankatank rivers, and my own daughter now spends long weekends with her great-grandfather at his home facing the Chesapeake Bay just outside of Deltaville.

Naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to work with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC), an agency representing nine towns and counties in the area, in the development of a strategic plan.

The core of our interactions happened on a sunny day in March at the Piankatank Golf Club. Sarah, Cara and I spent the day with MPPDC staff and commissioners exploring new strategic approaches to the peninsula’s key issues.

Because the MPPDC was in the midst of major transition – its long-time executive director had left in February, and the organization’s finances had been hit by federal and state budget reductions – the goal was to identify high-impact, low-resource initiatives.

In the end, what made the entire process so rewarding for our team was seeing several dozen public officials engage in serious discussion about the future. We not only took the group through some blue sky thinking, but we also waded through some mind-numbing financial discussions; they stayed in the game throughout.

At a time when so many people appear to be cynical about the nature and role of government, it’s refreshing to see examples of political collaboration and long-range regional planning. It’s even more refreshing to be part of the conversation.

photo: Homes & Land (