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My thoughts on the new #Waynesboro Comprehensive Plan

Backyard Brian here. I wanted to take a few minutes to share some thoughts on the new Comprehensive Plan for Waynesboro. I got a chance to go to the city council meeting this past Monday, and I’m standing here on Main Street right beside the City Council building. I’m really excited about what our local officials have worked hard to put together, and I want to give a shout-out to Terry Shore, Bruce Allen, and some of the others on the City Council that have worked to make this happen. Based on what they shared,  I’m really excited for the future of Waynesboro. May family and I moved back to this area about two years ago. We lived in Nelson for a number of years, but Waynesboro is where I grew up. So I’m excited to see Waynesboro move forward in this way. Although, there was something shared in the meeting that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit this past week.

One of the things that’s hurting Waynesboro is our buildings, both residential and commercial. As a whole, compared to surrounding areas, our buildings are really run-down. There are a few things that the city and public can do to improve the structural quality. However, it’s ultimately up to us as city residents to really think about what needs to be done to initiate improvement of maintenance, care, and condition of our homes and buildings. It’s time for us to take some pride in Waynesboro and show that this is a great place to live. We’ve got awesome parks that are only going to get better. We’ve got the Wayne Theater behind me. We’ve got an awesome downtown. We’ve got many great local businesses like The Farmhaus Coffee Co., The French Press, Heritage on Main, and Green Leaf.

If we want this area to draw others to visit and live here, we’ve got to do something about the condition of our buildings. We must take initiative to say “Okay.” To make sure our yards are cleaned up and homes are maintained. The buildings that we have influence over are our responsiblity. And lending a helping hand is important to. Maybe we have a neighbor who’s struggling with keeping their place up, so let’s offer to help. It’s time for us to have some pride in our community and really step out. To choose to work together and make sure Waynesboro looks great. Our city councilmen can’t help us do that. they can encourage us, but we are the ones to musst take action in the end. It’s up to us.

According to the consultant that presented the Comprehensive Plan, real estate values of our homes and businesses are about 20 percent below what they could be because of the condition of our buildings as a whole. We have a lot of opportunity and room to grow. This is an opportunity for all of us in Waynesboro and put money in our pockets if we want to. If will work together and we’ll see the quality of our neighborhoods and streets improved.

Anyway, it’s a great opportunity. Let’s work together to take it. Pass the word. Share this with others. If you want to see the Comprehensive Plan, it’s on the city’s website. There’s a lot of other great things in there that I’ll be talking about over the next couple of weeks, but let’s start by working together to make our communities, homes, and business buildings look great. All right, talk to you later. Have a great weekend. Bye.

 

A Message for Parents – An Opportunity That Doesn’t Require A College Education

Hello friends and family. Backyard Brian here.

I’ve got a little bit of a different message for you today. I wanted to talk about something that’s really been on my heart. I’ve had a number of conversations over the last couple weeks that have spurred this message I share with you today. There’s an opportunity out there that I think many people aren’t aware of; parents in particular. I’m a parent of teenagers, so I know what it’s like. We want our kids to do well or maybe to do better than we have. And sometimes in that we miss something. What I really want to talk about is, “Do our kids need to go to college?”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to learn. Those of you who know me, know that I am a voracious learner. I’m reading all the time. I go to workshops. I enjoy studying and learning. I think education is a great thing and college is a great opportunity. I’m very grateful for the education opportunities we have, but I also realize that a traditional four-year college education is not the right thing for everybody. College is not a “one size fits all” for everyone. Particularly for folks, like myself, who are wired to enjoy working with their hands, getting outside, and doing those kinds of things. There are many opportunitie out there that don’t require a college education for those who want to work with their hands.  On top of that, a college education almost becomes detrimental. Instead, what we need is technical education in things that matter.

I’ve talked with many people and business owners in the workforce who can’t find workers with technical skills. Meanwhile, we have kids coming out of college who can’t find jobs because they don’t have the technical skills that the workplace is demanding. Just recently, I was at a conference and heard a presentation from our local community college on how we oftentimes show people the higher salary of management compared to the lower salary of electricians. What we miss is that the compensation for a poor manager is down and a good electrician is up. Once again, it’s important to do what you’re good at; what you were created for; what you love to do and, if you do that, you’ll do well.

There are people I’ve worked with through the years who started in construction and worked hard as laborers, helpers, and carpenters, Then, over time, they made their way into management. They have had very good, well-paying careers in the construction field with a focus in management. It can pay very well. You can make six figures in a good management position for the construction industry without ever having a college education. I think it’s important that people know of this opportunity. If you’ve got children who seem to be wired to work with their hands, I want you to realize that there is a creative opportunity within this industry. Rather than construction being the field we send them to that just can’t cut it.

I really think construction needs to be a place where we send those that are creative. It’s a place for those who want to be outside and love working with their hands. And there’s a lot of us out there. The guys I work with each day absolutely love what they do, are taking care of their families, and having a good time while doing it. It’s an opportunity for many other folks because there’s a consistent demand for houses. We’re always going to need places to live and work in. Those houses/buildings are going to require a construction workers to put them up. I love that each day I am at work we get to create something out of nothing. At the end of the day, when I go home, I can go back and see what we accomplished. There’s buildings I see all over town that I can look at and say, “Hey, we built that. We did that. That is going to last a long time.”

I would really encourage everyone to pass the word and share with others. Let others know that your kid doesn’t have to go to college to be successful. If they don’t want to or are unsure about attending college, let it be known that there’s a great opportunity in the construction industry. I know the same is true for mechanics, welders, landscapers and many other vocations. I have lots of friends in those businesses that have done very well.

Have a great weekend with your family, encourage your kids, love a teenager somewhere. They don’t always get all the encouragement they need. Why don’t you take a minute and share that with somebody, encourage them, love your family. Have a great time. Talk to ya later. Bye.