Decisions are being made now.

What will your community look like in 20 years? Who is deciding this? Is only one side weighing in? Or is there active involvement by all affected parties?

Ask a public official their vision, and it will be decidedly different than that of a local builder. Everyone has their own unique perspective, but this difference does not need to divide us. It can be used as a stepping stone toward dialogue and compromise so we can build a vibrant economy that supports our infrastructure.

Without revenue growth for our cities and counties, we will not be able to repair roads, update schools or even maintain basic essential services. Rather than getting mired in gridlock, the public and private sectors have to come together, exchange ideas and find common ground.

The currently ongoing update to Santa Rosa’s General Plan 2035 represents a prime example of a divided community struggling to communicate as a long-term vision of the city’s development is mapped out. In response to a short public hearing process, community leaders – including affordable housing, environmental, construction and business advocacy groups – rallied to extend review time and provide additional public input into this critical document.

Key to moving toward a course of action that supports economic development is open communication between our policymakers and members of the community.

In light of that, on May 21 the Business Journal will host a moderated discussion between North Bay public officials and private developers. This conversation will work toward identifying solutions to current challenges and building relationships that support the recovery of our local construction industry, which is vital to the overall economic health of the North Bay.

The discussion will be based on questions and topics submitted to the Business Journal via an online survey and moderated by Editor-in-Chief Brad Bollinger. Questions may be submitted at www.NorthBayBusinessJournal.com by clicking on the icon titled “Concerned about the future of North Bay construction?” Keith Woods, president and chief executive officer of the North Coast Builders Exchange will open the event with an overview and outlook on the industry.

For more information or to register, contact Linda Perkins at events@busjrnl.com or 707-521-5264.