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Thinking outside the map page 4
Viewpoints column by local government administrators about shared governmental services (Regionalism).

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Date published: 8/19/2012


Other regional human services initiatives include the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board, which aids citizens in Planning District 16 with mental health, intellectual disability, and substance abuse problems and assists in preventing the occurrence of these conditions. The Safe Harbor Counseling Center for victims of child abuse is another regional effort aimed at helping our younger citizens.

Last but not least is our very successful Youth First program, which has taken place every year since 2006. Youth First consists of a day of training, collaboration, and networking for human service professionals in each of the planning districts in the Fredericksburg region. This day also provides resources for those who are working with the at-risk families and children of our planning district.


Such combined efforts--past, present, and future--allow us to leverage resources and add value, while maintaining our communities' unique "personalities." Fredericksburg's quaint Colonial downtown and prestigious University of Mary Washington beckon visitors from all over the U.S. who wish to experience the city's connections to George Washington's family and its life as a bustling port town. Here at home, friends and families are drawn to Fredericksburg's familiar celebrations such as its annual Christmas parade or the Soap Box Derby. Spotsylvania is known as the "Crossroads of the Civil War" but is also attracting residents and visitors with its retail establishments and a growing health care industry. And Stafford continues to build its national reputation as a cradle of opportunity for individuals and businesses with its diverse business base and recreational and historic resources, including its own connection to George Washington at his childhood home, Ferry Farm.

Despite our distinctions, our regional efforts bind us, not just with each other, but with the rest of the planet. In fact, the more technology advances, the flatter and smaller our world becomes. Our region is tied directly not only to the National Capital Region, the Richmond area, and our rural neighbors to the east and west, but also to the international dynamics brought about by technology.

What Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished with a heavier-than-air propeller-driven machine in the 20th century, we can accomplish today with a simple click of a mouse or a swipe on a cellphone. Local governments and regions that seize the opportunity of technology and innovation will lead in the global economy.

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Anthony Romanello is county administrator of Stafford County, Beverly Cameron is city manager of Fredericksburg, and Douglas Barnes is county administrator of Spotsylvania County.