Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here's to the Strangers on the Streets Tonight

Nothing like a weekend snowstorm to give you time for introspection as the year comes to an end and to look back and look forward, practically in the same motion. We're pretty good around here at seeing the half-empty glass so allow me to spend a moment and expend a few words on celebrating the contents of what every half-full glass may hold.

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.
-bill kenny


twelve28 said...

Bill, I wish your town much luck in redeveloping.
I have lived here in Colorado Springs since Oct.1985. Our city has gone through many changes through that time period. It has grown tremendously......then the economy changed once again, and now there are empty strip malls, businesses closing or moving, people losing their jobs.
We made the news because our city decided to turn off street lights, and remove garbage cans from parks. It started off slow like that, and I am concerned what else is going to happen.We made Forbes magazine for a 3 way tie for the worst American city to get a job!!
I love it here, and I hope to get a job soon!
I worked for 17 years and was laid off due to the business being sold, then I worked for 13 months elsewhere and was let go from there.
It's dire straights for everybody, everywhere.
We lost a lot in the stock market. That would have been great for retirement.
I really am trying to look at the glass half full. It is just difficult at times.
We live a modest life, own a home and my husband has a good job, and we are happy! I try to reflect on that, instead of what I don't have, kinda like what you are saying (except you were talking about redevelopment of your town).
You are a great writer, Bill. You make me think of other things when you are talking about other things! Words can be used in such a way, that makes us use our noggin'. :)
Have a great day!!!

dweeb said...


Thanks for the encouragement (though others may not appreciate it).
I figure this life lasts the same amount of time if you smile or if you frown and as Dylan observed it takes a lot to laugh, it takes a rain to cry.

Things move in cycles and for most of your lifetime the USA has covered the country with ribbons of concrete and asphalt and placed houses and malls along the way (and gas to feed the machines was cheap).

Starting in 1973/74 with the Arab Oil Embargo we should've been working on a different model in how we live.

Instead, we waited until we were flat broke to discover as Jame McMurtry phrased it,
"We Can't Make It Anymore"

Towards a better 2011 for all of us, bill kenny