Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Next New Beginning

The clock fell back to mark the fall and winter season four days after Norwich voters decided to step forward, choosing to believe there's another spring and summer in our downtown. All the back-slapping, hail fellow well met and congratulations that needed to be handed out are hopefully, all done because the hard work is yet to get started.

When you don't know where you're going, any road can get you there-but not every one will. Lots of details for management of the downtown development bond were 'to be determined' and 'fleshed out' when/if the residents approved the proposal. That's where we are right now-we can stop saying if and start doing when. That is, when public meetings and smaller group discussions lead to the development of criteria for the types of businesses that will best complement downtown and incentives are offered to merchants we will patronize, we'll see an increased flow of pedestrian traffic and incremental growth in the commercial portion of the city's Grand List.

Those whom we've elected need to grow more comfortable with multi-dimensional and multi-directional thinking--not just 'what's next?' but what happens after a succession of 'what next.' They, and all of us who live here, will need to both drive the car and build the road. We are most comfortable with a rate and pace of change that places one event in sequence after the other. The world towards which we are moving doesn't always work in that manner. Change and reaction to it are more spontaneous and less regimented.

What will help determine how well we will manage tomorrow will be a skill we need to have today: an ability to communicate openly and honestly with one another. There's safety in numbers, when you learn to divide. How can we be in if there is no outside? No secret agendas, no saying one thing while meaning another, no more nods and winks and private codes. We need to rely on one another to say what we mean and to mean what we say.

Cooperation and collaboration need to be hallmarks of our dealings with one another as we open ourselves to a world that too many of us have avoided for decades. Many of us are not sure which model to follow, but I think most of us would agree, as we demonstrated last Tuesday with our votes for two of the three bond initiatives, we're no longer willing to be silent and passive victims. This unreasoning fear we've had of any idea Not From Here needs to be replaced by a willingness to try new ideas from new people, and if necessary should first attempts fall short, to try again until we get it right.
-bill kenny

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