We generated a lot of heat here in The Rose City these last twelve months. How much light was created from all the flying sparks remains to be seen but after decades of talking to one another about doing something about downtown economic redevelopment, we started to walk the walk, albeit with halting steps.
For the villages that make up Norwich, from Laurel Hill to Occum, or Taftville to Bean Hill and all points in between, we seem to have finally agreed the City of Norwich looks to the Chelsea District the way the fingers on the hand look to the thumb. Whether or not this is as good or as important as we have come to believe it is has yet to be proved, but that's something we should be doing in the first months of 2011 which begins, in case you'd forgotten, this Saturday.
The best thing about unsolicited advice is there's no obligation to take it, so do with what follows as you wish. The more immediately and clearly a vision for downtown redevelopment is DEFINED (by those elected and selected to do so), the more effectively it can be REFINED into a plan with measurable goals and recognizable milestones by those city agencies and private citizens who are building the Next Norwich.
Perhaps, long before now, roles should have been laid out for those involved in downtown's economic development. Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. I'm thinking we've learned (finally) that lesson.
Thus, as we demonstrated so often in 2010 (and earlier) we can continue to miss what we do not have, or we can choose to make the best of what we do have and create a blueprint for downtown economic development that enables interested businesses and others across the private sector to partner with city agencies and enhance the quality (and quantity) of life in the Chelsea District for the benefit of all residents.
Of course, we can also quarrel and quibble about who's driving and who's reading the map while we all take turns honking the horn (myself most especially included) until we've expended the last of the bond money, exhausted public enthusiasm (and patience) about redevelopment efforts, and change nothing anywhere for anyone, despite our best intentions. We, alone, must decide and then live with the consequences of our decision.
Happy 2011 and Let the Day Begin finally.