Morgan McIlwain Writes on Planning in APWA-NC Newsletter

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Mike Wayts

Infrastructure Engineer

Program Manager Morgan McIlwain in Raleigh wrote in the December APWA-North Carolina newsletter about the value of good planning in allowing the Cities of Fayetteville and Hickory to move forward on critical projects during a tumultuous 2020.

Here’s an excerpt:

“When an international health emergency upends daily life for months, causing economic disruption and widespread uncertainty, how can cities keep moving forward with crucial long-term projects?

Several North Carolina communities learned during 2020 that the groundwork they laid through their project planning proved to be even more valuable than they had anticipated.

In ordinary times, planning produces better results by defining the goals to be accomplished, laying the paths to achieving them and creating frameworks that can sustain communities into the future. During crises, the benefits of sharply focused planning become even clearer.

The cities of Fayetteville and Hickory have shown how their foresight and careful efforts enabled them to make progress on key projects instead of standing still during the coronavirus pandemic.”

For Fayetteville, that meant having the foundation for staff to continue developing elements within the City’s flagship watershed master plan even while most worked remotely.

(Read more about the program in Fayetteville Watershed Master Plan Receives ACEC-North Carolina Grand Award.)

The City of Hickory’s long and careful planning for a $40 million bond program enabled them to progress with construction and generate new economic development to help the community endure the pandemic’s upheaval.

(Read more about the program in Hickory Bond Program Honored by ACEC-NC.)

Planning Lessons

These examples underscore how foresight and well-developed plans can help cities:

  • Save time and resources in the long run, especially on complex, multiyear projects and programs
  • Provide an opportunity for critical coordination among participants
  • Clarify how particular projects can help a community
  • Have a road map to show a way forward through adversity

Read the full article: They Didn’t Plan on a Pandemic — But These Cities Navigated It Through Good Planning

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Mike Wayts, PE, CFM, is a Vice President/Principal and North Carolina Division Manager.