You Are Not Seeing Clearly
Vision is in your minds eye AND your actual eyes. What you choose to see affects what you then choose to do.
One of the recurring problems in your small town is that your eyes are bad. You (of course) see what you see every day, but the problem is that you see the same things the same way each time you pass. The way it was yesterday. After a while, you begin to see and accept it as it is, not what it can be. What you need is a fresh set of eyes. This requires someone new, from outside. The old saying that anyone from at least 50 miles away and carrying a briefcase (I'm dating myself) is an Expert. The truth is that the people who come into your town for the first time, with their own background, knowledge and experiences will form a totally new perspective AND OPINION. It may not align with what "the locals" think, but it is objective, and often contains valuable insight for you to build upon.
Once while new to a job and community I had a driving tour with a Mayor and commented to him, "don't you wish you could do something to that property?" Seeing blight on a familiarization tour is not right. The Mayors response, "you should have seen it a few years ago." It was news to me that it used to look worse and something was done to improve it. Yet, to my eyes, not nearly enough.
This is perhaps the greatest advantage that a economic and community development consultant can offer you. That fresh unbiased view. One that has no predetermined ideas, no axe to grind, no side to pacify, and can be even-handed, non-partisan. Even new elected officials do not have this freedom, as they have a historical perspective of the place, they know who got them elected, what ideas they promoted as the right ones, and most have the goal of getting re-elected by pleasing the right people. An overview with a fresh site of eyes can help bring your eyes (and ideas) back into better focus. Think about it.