Have you done something for twenty years? Something you love? Something you didn't get paid for? Well, lucky for the City of Dover, Ron Cole has.
Ron stepped down last night as a member of the Dover Planning Board. For me, Ron was the Planning Board. He served long and well, accomplishing many goals and expressing many thoughts about the good, thoughtful planning that he wanted to see in Dover, and has been proud to be a part of. An accomplishment he should be proud of is that he was the chair of the Board for 17 years (1994 - 2010), and vice chair for one year (1993).
In Ron's time there have been multiple master plan updates, and three Planning Directors. He outlasted everyone who was on the board when he joined (November 12, 1991) and when he assented to the Chairmanship (January 11, 1994), and as near as I can tell he has served more than any other member of the Planning Board. Add to that, that he was named Citizen Planner of the Year, and you have a very accomplished citizen planner.
I am going to miss two things. First Ron is an incredibly well spoken cheerleader for Dover. He always is positive about the community and the benefits he receives from living here. He sees the very big picture and is able to translate it between the planning jargon/technical side into a clean laymen's terms sense. Add to that he is thoughtful and has been interested in trendsetting, pushing planning in Dover to different and new areas.
I'll also miss his constructive criticism. Ron was a big supporter of mine as I was developing through the staff here. I remember talking with him when I came to Dover in 1997, and working closer to him in 2002, as part of the then re-zoning work. In 2007 he was a great asset as I looked to become the Planning Director. He has such a skill with people that he knows how to say "you're wrong" and not make you feel wrong. He helped me numerous times not only see a better path, but take it. Even after working with him for 14 years now, he continues to overwhelm me with his knowledge and understanding that we need to be ever present in today, as we learn from the past and perfect the future.
Luckily for me he isn't leaving Dover or anything that drastic, he is still around to chat with and grab for a committee here and there, when we need his perspective. Ron has been a great asset to Dover, and he should be thanked and congratulated for the immense time and dedication he has given to the Planning Board. There aren't many people like Ron Cole, and the entire Dover planning community should be proud that he chose to volunteer with us for so long.