Stellar to create unregrettable ride
Nothing short of a Harrison County state basketball title could have raised as much shouting for joy as the designation of Corydon as a Stellar community. The excitement has been growing during the past months as residents united to develop an application to participate in the state program.
With the call to the town hall on Aug. 11, the news was all good: Corydon would be included in a comprehensive multi-state agency program to improve the social and economic conditions in our county.
The Indiana State Fair is a showcase for the best our state has to offer. What a fitting setting for the public announcement of the two new communities selected to be included in the state’s premier small town development program. Reading the Web page for this state initiative, one is reminded of the ever-present bureaucracy apparent in all large projects.
It is impossible to avoid such complications when needing transparency of public activities and records, accountability for spending of resources and evaluating inputs and outcomes of actions. Only people of determination, skill and purpose can stick with such requirements and the resulting challenges.
When the bus from Corydon arrived on Aug. 18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the meeting to declare the Stellar designation official, these were not carefree folks out for a lark. These were Harrison Countians who had worked for more than two years to jump through hoops of regulations and directions, had countless meetings, planned and re-planned, studied issues, raised money, built alliances and spent hours on computers, phones and in vehicles to achieve a chance to create a huge updating of our community.
Their cheers and tears were exactly like those of the Olympic athletes we watched on our televisions. A developed vision and hard work had paid off.
Olympic athletes can decide whether to retire from the endless training or forge ahead for four more years to the 2020 event. By contrast, for the Corydon residents, this is a declaration of the commitment of an entire community for uncounted years ahead. It is the recognition that a whole new mindset, attitude and degree of participation is in the works starting now.
Some may say, ‘ I didn’t sign on to undertake such an adventure. Let those who worked for this new opportunity carry the ball.’ To them, I would reply, ‘We need your unique perspective and skill, and I can guarantee you will have a fun and meaningful time.’
You may be too old or too young, uninclined or out of shape to become an Olympic athlete who feels the thrill of accomplishment. But, everyone who is alive can live that dream while being a part of the team when your community is ‘on a roll.’ Folks are invigorated when they do something that improves life in their own hometown.
In the past, I have been called to cut ribbons as new facilities were opened or programs started. No matter how small or large these were, I witnessed the same pride and joy of making a positive difference.
Corydon becoming a Stellar community is definitely no small project. This is a game changer for our county.
It won’t be all sunny days ahead. Nothing is simple in our complex and ever-intertwined world. We won’t all see opportunities from the same perspective. What course one person might champion another might view as unproductive. We will get to know ourselves and others during the art of discussion and consensus building.
When speaking to the leader of a community which has been a part of the Stellar program for three years, she emphasized that it was an exercise in perseverance. When I asked if it was worth it, her answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’
Thinkers in our world have always noted that one constant exists: ‘There will always be change.’ Most of these statements were made before the present existence of technology. There weren’t computers everywhere 15 years ago. Frank was the first governor to have a computer in his office at the Statehouse. Now, preschoolers push buttons and get instant and educational results on age-appropriate computers.
When I took my four-year-old high-tech hearing aids to the audiologist as I was having trouble hearing, she suggested the new versions were so much better as they programmed through my smartphone and gave me new options. Even the retailer Costco offers a version of this new device.
I was advised to pitch my out-dated hearing aids if I wanted to hear well enough to stay in ‘the game’ as I age. I imagine ‘ and even hope ‘ that in another two years I will be told to pitch my 2016 version for a revolutionary new model.
Really, we have no choice when it comes to whether or not to upgrade our community. Do we want to be an active, prosperous place where we, our families and friends can live? Well, we better get with it. We can’t struggle alone just celebrating the past and survive.
We are so fortunate we are going to be a part of a strong effort by a network of agencies, a rich variety of people and a whole lot of human will to build a dynamic community together.
Come along! You will never regret the ride.