Field Notes – Program Assessment Results in Universal Questions Along With a Future Plan
Click here for more information in this month’s Vistas, from the America’s Byways Resouce Center: http://bywaysresourcecenter.org/resources/publications/vistas/2011/july2011/
By Wayne Gannaway, Byways Specialist
Byway leaders from across Florida gathered in St. Augustine in June to assess the current status of the Florida Scenic Highway Program (FSHP) and to determine its future direction. They also learned about tools and strategies that they can employ today to improve their byways.
A summarization of findings from a sustainability assessment on Florida’s six designated America’s Byways and seventeen state byways was presented by Wanda Maloney of Corridor Solutions, whose firm conducted the assessment.
The assessment was part of an effort by the state program to pause, in terms of bringing on new scenic highways, to assess its program and to develop new strategic directions.
The weaknesses of the byway organizations identified by Wanda may be familiar to byway leaders across the country:
- Weak governance and administrative capacity,
- Undiversified funding sources,
- Volunteer burnout and
- Tepid community participation, among others.
Here at the Resource Center we have written frequently about ensuring your byway’s corridor management plan is not collecting dust on your bookshelf. Based on her assessment, Wanda and her team came to a more specific and pointed conclusion: There is a persistent belief among byway organizations that they are “not ultimately responsible for funding [the] implementation of the corridor management plan” (emphasis mine). That observation, perhaps as much as any other, speaks to the core question of byway sustainability: If your byway organization is not responsible, then who is? How do you convince potential supporters that your organization is the best steward of the byway?
Still, Wanda pointed out that the FSHP has many experienced byway leaders and shining stars, the A1A being a good example. Having taken stock, the leaders devised a plan for the future they would like to see. From my viewpoint, this group seems to be headed in the right direction.