If you rent or purchase a home in one county and work in another county, how can you reconcile the differences between making a living with the possibilities of living a full life?
This is the question that the city of La Grange, KY has asked the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) to answer in a partnership between the town's Main Street program, the city and the community to look at a urban re-design and economic development plan. During a Charrette held in La Grange on Saturday, February 12th, almost 100 people in a town of about 8,000 residents held court with DAAP students as those residents conveyed their visions for their town to the UC students. One of the desires that stood out was how residents and the city could make La Grange a healthier, more environmental and safer environment for everyone.
While the percentage of participants to residents was small for this Charrette, the outcome via media resonated throughout Oldham County, where La Grange serves as the largest town and the county seat. Reaction among those residents who did not attend the Charrette has been positive and forward-looking to the results that will be presented within the next six weeks.
Knowing most of the residents who attended this Charrette, the working group also presumes at this time that the majority of people involved in the building of "community" through economic development and urban planning are those residents who live above I-71, and consist of those individuals who are the most vested in their communities in that area. South of I-71, the residents seem to be focused more on the activities and offerings from Jefferson County and Louisville.
Over the next few weeks, as executive director for the Main Street program (Discover Downtown La Grange), I'd like to explore various facets pertaining to the county-wide feel for health, wellness and fitness in various programs, such as the "Shop Local" campaign that focuses on local entrepreneurs; a more environmental approach to our parks and byways; a marketing approach that could pull more businesses into the town that focus on health and wellness, and; a sustainable approach to building, rebuilding and re-using current infrastructure to achieve goals to make this town not only a destination, but a home to the residents who live here.
I welcome any comments, suggestions and ideas that any of you may have in this format. Re-inventing the wheel is stupid. Carving a signature into that wheel just might be sustainable.