Let me get something off my chest. Cranberry is a great place to live, work and play. Just about everyone says so.
But it wasn’t always that way. As far back as the 1980s, it was clear that – like it or not – growth was coming to Cranberry. So our elected officials faced a choice: whether to let that growth roll over the Township haphazardly, as it has elsewhere in the region, or to take control and steer that development toward making Cranberry the outstanding community they knew it could become.
They chose to manage Cranberry’s growth. That choice, in turn, prompted a series of very deliberate strategic decisions, made over an extended period of time. The community you see today is the result of their methodical planning, thoughtful policy-making, targeted investments, and a sustained vision implemented by our staff under the Board of Supervisors’ direction.
And yet I keep bumping into people – including people that ought to know better – who just shrug and say well, all the good things that happened in Cranberry just happened on their own. As though a community’s good fortune was random – a matter of luck, something like winning the lottery.
It’s a view that drives me nuts. So let me set the record straight. There are specific goals and practices which have been behind Cranberry’s success. Here are just a few of them:
- Enhanced mobility. Managing traffic growth and accommodating pedestrians have been among the Township’s top operational and spending priorities for decades.
- Leisure assets. Over the past 20 years, we have either built or greatly expanded three major parks, a golf course, and enhanced our community center, providing extensive recreational programming.
- Predictable development. Careful long-range land use planning has been a hallmark of Cranberry and a source of confidence to PennDOT in supporting Township road projects.
- Developer financing. Instead of having taxpayers finance road improvements for new businesses, Cranberry collects fees from those developers and requires them to pay for their improvements.
- Clear communications. Cranberry uses a variety of media, both print and electronic, to relay timely information to its residents and respond to their inquiries.
- Fiscal soundness. Cranberry’s municipal taxes are low, its budget is balanced, its credit is excellent, and its spending is conservative,
- Action-oriented. Cranberry’s Board of Supervisors acts decisively. It doesn’t ‘kick the can down the road’ or grant non-mandated benefit programs that create legacy costs for future generations.
- Sustainable growth. Cranberry’s development and business practices are designed to serve future generations as well as current residents.
- Pleasing aesthetics. Cranberry’s ordinances and planning reviews are designed to enhance the experience of residents and visitors with attractive streetscape, open space, and architectural detail.
- Good neighbors. Cranberry has formed partnerships with numerous businesses, civic organizations and other units of government in the area to advance their shared goals.
- Resident engagement. Cranberry welcomes and supports volunteer participation in its planning, recreation, culture, advisory and public safety functions.
- Tech-friendly. Cranberry is not only home to a number of leading-edge technology companies, it also is among the early adopters of technology for its own operations.
I could go on and on. But I think you get the idea: Cranberry’s success didn’t just happen. Nor did it occur without struggle and conflict, as longtime residents here remember well. Instead, it is the product of a long-running collaboration between its public, private and nonprofit sectors together with engaged and passionate residents and a visionary Board of Supervisors.
We like to think of our residents as shareholders, and we believe their return on investment has been substantial.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Cranberry’s success. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org