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Residents must team with experts if plan is to mirror town’s vision

It is time to get a plan. Yes, a good, sound plan that considers all of our area of involvement but zeros in on Corydon. It will be complicated and it won’t be easy. We have so many options and a world full of experts and involved citizens. But we can’t put it off any longer.
Sometimes I think planning in life is like those connect-the-dots activities in children’s coloring books. Remember the pages that were filled with dots? Each dot had a number posted beside it, and the directions told us to connect the dots and find a heretofore hidden shape. We discovered dogs, cats, houses and all sorts of pictures that hadn’t been there before we took our pencils and connected the dots.
In our real lives we need to connect the conditions and factors that appear as a hodgepodge of dots, and with our direction we can create something that wasn’t there before. The only difference is that in real life there aren’t any numbers, and we must decide where to go with that pencil to make a shape that appeals to us and our needs.
Life isn’t just about following a predesigned set of numbers but of creating a vision that grows out of our efforts and skills. This is what a democracy is all about. This is what maturity and education are all about. And this is what our plan for our community’s future must reflect.
I was so excited to hear of the progress that Main Street Corydon has made in taking on the challenges of the Keller Manufacturing Co. abandoned property and the Chestnut Street need for revitalization. Bravo for the citizens who haven’t backed off when obstacles reared up.
Local concerned and energized folks linked with experts from here and elsewhere make a winning team. The possibilities are endless and exciting. However, we won’t be able to do everything we want, and we won’t meet everyone’s expectations. The tough stuff of putting a specific plan in place is vital.
Now I don’t much go for the big ‘Grand Plan’ designed solely by an expert from a different life. These too often end up looking great but spending their lives in the bottom of desk drawers. They are just too overwhelming and, besides, they belong to someone else, and the community feels they have no stake in the world it would create.
What I’ve seen grow a town is a plan that develops from the exchange of ideas between trained experts and hometown citizens. What do we want the shape of our town to be? Only when we decide this can we connect the right dots to make a workable community. We are on a steady tract to get this done.
A public hearing for both projects, the Keller site and Chestnut Street, will be held in April, prior to the deadline for submitting the actual grant applications.
But don’t wait until then to tune in to what is being considered. Get informed and involved now so your ideas won’t be lost in the final wrap up. Your ideas need to be in the mix so they have a chance of enhancing the plan, not just appearing as a protest statement after the fact.
At the current stage of the Keller project, a lot of the conversation will center on what gets bulldozed and what gets fixed up. It doesn’t have to be completely one way or the other in most cases, although that is often the easiest route.
Take the time to actually stand in the spaces we are considering and talk to your neighbors about them. What gives you the sense of the richness of Corydon’s life and what doesn’t? Explore with others how to combine old and new in a single building or area. Talk about creative new uses for current spaces. Envision what infrastructure the future opportunities will require. And face some of the tough questions about funding, safety and sustainability.
This can be more fun than a basketball game or a crossword puzzle, and it takes many of the same skills. It doesn’t make any difference if you are seven years old or 70; you need to be a part of the process. Or, if you have never gone to a community meeting in your life, it is the time to start.
Our past leaders have done a good job, but now we are going for the stars, and it really takes a full team.
I can’t wait to share some coffee and conversations over the next few months. Most of all, I can’t wait to see what shape your plan creates.