Monday, August 1, 2011

When the Grass is Greener On This SIde

I know some people who think that our area absolutely is the place to live, work and play. I know other people for whom this seems to be a terrible place to be.

Some of the people who really love it here grew up here, but many are people who moved here specifically to live in what they consider a great place. Those that think this is an awful place seem to be more people from here that for one reason or another are ‘place bound.’ They may have family obligations, or maybe their occupation keeps them here, or maybe they just haven’t gotten the get up and go to get up and go. It would make sense that this latter group is mainly from here – we don’t have the kind of employment draw that would compel people to move here for a job in an area they otherwise don’t like.

One place-bound person born and raised here recently told me what a dump this place is. Earlier that very same day, I was with a group of people, some from here, some who moved here, expressing what a delightful place this is. The contrast was interesting and it got me thinking that it’s probably a good thing that we have people coming to the area realizing how great it is and working to keep it great.

Again, there are people from here and who have lived most of their life here that think its great and work hard to keep it great and make it greater, but its also good to have an influx of enthusiastic people who really love it here. It is important for these newcomers to be able to express their appreciation for their new place and have opportunities to help keep it/make it great. Some of the environmental projects are started by such people who don’t take our natural heritage for granted the way the longer term residents tend to. Some of our new businesses are started by relative newcomers who see opportunities the long-term residents didn’t pick up. Perhaps the long-term residents were too used to seeing things the way they are and not how they can be (kind of the reverse of how it is when you see an old friend you haven’t seen for a while and notice that they’ve aged but you don’t see the aging of the people you see every day.

Towns need to be welcoming of new people who bring good, new ideas. It’s only natural that it would take a little while for newcomers to have some influence. We don’t want to swing back and forth with the latest fads. New people need to work themselves into the community. But some communities make it harder than it needs to be for new people to bring in new ideas. Community development research shows that successful communities welcome newcomers and new ideas and energy that fit into a shared vision of the place

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