Click Here to Return to Index

Click Here to Return To Milestones

A Creative Task to Perform and to Create
Something New There Must be Planning
By Clifton E. Rodgers

Planning Consultant to the Beaver County Planning Commission
Milestones Vol 13 No 3 Fall 1988

It is a pleasure and honor for every citizen of Beaver county to participate in the Sesqui-Centennial or 150th Birthday. It is a time we all gather to honor the past in interest of preserving the American way of life. We all realize how much it means to be a beneficiary to the progress and prosperity inherited by us from those who pioneered Beaver county's development.

Along with the gaiety, fanfare of entertainment, the Sesqui-Centennial is planned to help you treasure the past, counsel your thoughts, register your conscience and create vision of imagination to your responsibilities in living and working in this great county.

Anyone can say a great deal about the wonderful history of our country, about the fact that in a little more than 300 years we have built on this part of the American continent a great civilization and accumulated a great mass of physical wealth. It is easy to memorize statistics about bath tubs and telephones and automobiles and persuade ourselves that we are a great people. But we must concern ourselves infinitely more with the future and we must be less complacent about our operation in the past. The problem that we face is, "Will the America of the next generation be as kind to its people as ours of this generation?" "Will our children enjoy the privileges that we enjoy?" "Will their lives be as pleasant, as blessed, as prosperous, as ours?" We hope they will be better. America is great today, not for what she has, but for what she can do with it, what she can produce. Someone has said that the American working man has four times the productive capacity of his British counterpart. The great material wealth of America is every American citizen as a producer. Not what you have, but what you have that can be the basis of production for the future. America today is the leader of the world in production, in culture and in a standard of living. We have reached the point where we can no longer import our spiritual strength. We have to conserve what we have and develop it in our children and our children's children. Our educational institutions can make an important and undying contribution to our ability to conserve, rebuild, and strengthen the faith of men who may serve and through them the faith of American people. The county's need of wise leadership to perpetuate the American way of life in our youth is great. Therefore, the county as represented by the people who share in its ownership must be prepared to gain and perpetuate the favorable living conditions we all desire through the establishment of sound economic conditions.

With our productive capacity, we have the responsibility for operating our business, our community, our homes, so that we make enough profit to do two things:

1. To re-invest in the business, the community, the home, so that the productive capacity can increase as fast or faster than the needs of the people, and,

2. We must also make enough of a profit so that there will be more to invest in the education of the youth of today so that we will have the leaders of tomorrow.

Historically, Pennsylvania communities from the days of William Penn have been among the most alert, aggressive and progressive in America and there is ample evidence if you study the operation of these communities that the American way of life is successful. The business life and the family life as a system of free enterprise form a partnership called the community. Each citizen of the community is a stockholder in all phases of community life. The historical record will show that the communities which prosper and acquired reputation for good living and business conditions are those that followed the method of successful business establishments; and, took stock of their assets and liabilities; and, prepared a plan and acted accordingly.

The most of us realize that the American way of life means that certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are ours because of the Declaration of Independence and because of that we have Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press and Freedom of Religion and the right to free enterprise. However, knowing these facts is not enough, we can't take them for granted. We must practice these rights in every field of community life. In other words, we must have community enterprise, business enterprise and family enterprise on a free basis as we have in the past. Yes, free enterprise is the name given to the American way of life. We believe that every person has the privilege of choosing his own vocation. He is free to start his own business or free to work where he chooses so long as he does not engage in any work harmful to other people. You can become a milkman and own a dairy, but you can't expect to deliver watered milk. That's against public interest and laws have been passed to protect the public.

You are living and working in Beaver county because you like it here, because you know it is a good place for your family to participate in community life. Years ago, the planners of this county must have made a survey of human goals that went as follows: "What do we need for the family?" "What do we need for the mother and the child?" "Does your community make sense in terms of being a child's environment?" They must have recognized the needs of the child for a friendly, protective community. In other words, it was built to the child's style, one that he can understand, along with his relationship with his mother and little playmates. Your county plan must continue to place the child and family before every institution, every vested interest and find an adequate answer in terms of design, in terms of architectural design, planning design and finally in terms of living design to satisfy the child's needs from the cradle to the grave. The county then, in a sense, is like a farmer's field if it is cultivated, it will produce a good crop. A good crop, not of wheat, not of corn, but a good crop of American citizens. The abandoned field, we all know causes the spread of blight to another field. So it is important to plan and cultivate your county through the self-reliance and initiative of each citizen.

As individuals and as shareholders in the county, we must never become static in our concept of county life. We must keep abreast of the modern times. Modern business techniques, modern homes, modern schools, transportation facilities and thus modern people. We must be willing to recognize and tolerate the fact that county life is continuously changing. The successful county must think ahead by getting today's work done and find time to plan and do the new things to yield profits for tomorrow. As individuals in the county every citizen must remember that an idealism will pay no dividends for although life, health and the lack of health can be expressed, they are far from being something that can be bought and sold. So we must bear in mind that we have a creative task to perform and to create something new, we must plan. We must have the idea for it, we must have the courageous spirit to develop it.