As anyone eyeing the stock market knows, it’s tough to know what’s going to happen next week, let alone next year.
So leapfrogging ahead an entire quarter of a century to 2035 is inherently a stretch.
But The Bristol Press is flexible enough to give it a shot – with the help of its readers in Bristol, Plymouth, Plainville and Southington.
We’ve set up a website to solicit ideas from anyone willing to take a shot at guessing the future locally.
We envision this is a conversation among the newspaper and the community it serves as we all look together into a virtual crystal ball and try to figure out what the future may hold.
It’s partly a serious venture, because forming a consensus on what should happen is one way to help ensure that we get the future we want, to the degree it can be controlled from Central Connecticut.
But it can also be playful and fun.
Readers are invited to send along anything from cartoons of a future Bristol to haikus about Terryville’s likely fate. Photographs are fine, too, as long as you have the legal right to share them with us.
In fact, just about anything’s fair game as long as it’s not offensive.
In its first day online, three Bristol men contributed thoughts about where Bristol might go. They generally share the view that with pluck and a little luck, Bristol should see good times ahead.
There are a few ground rules for the online conversation.
One is that the futures envisioned have to fall within the range of the imaginable.
Please don’t try to regale everyone with a fanciful tale of an alien invasion or a revolt by revenge-minded rabbits. Unless, of course, the story is really funny.
Another rule is that we’re only going to post entries from people willing to use their real name.
People can comment on entries anonymously or with web aliases, but we’re mostly looking for those who are willing to put their names behind their ideas.
While the website – or, technically, the blog – where we’re hosting the online conversation is only available via the internet, we will have eventually a story or stories in the newspaper that summarize what we get out of this.
We encourage readers in each of our towns to tell us what they think their own town will be like in 2035. We’ll label the entries with town names and otherwise make it easy to sort through the material to find out what’s relevant to each municipality.
If we reel the clock backwards to 1985 – a quarter century ago – could we have guessed what Bristol would be like today? Maybe so. And perhaps the community might have hustled to embrace an alternative future.
There’s no way to change the past, of course, at least not yet, but the future is ours to create.
This project is just one little way that The Bristol Press can help foster the sort of vision that may lead to a brighter, better tomorrow.
And if it doesn’t, well, at least we can have some fun with it.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org