First, many thanks to Steve Shelburne for his wonderful hospitality and giving us such a warm, comfortable place to meet that cold, rainy, Monday night. And thanks to those who brought drinks and nibblies to add to what Steve kindly offered as well. And thanks to everyone for just coming, naturally!
It was probably our most enthusiastic meeting, with people expressing various dreams of what we can do together, ranging from connecting people that share concerns, sharing ideas for how to advance plans, to energizing downtown, to creating sport and leisure possibilities, to bringing a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to town, to providing a public spaces where average amateur musicians like Rod, Loren, Steven and Steve can jam, collaborate, and maybe get some coins thrown in a guitar case!
And we all seemed to agree how any one of those things can help the city be a better place for current residents, and a more appealing place for possible new residents, like those coming for cybercommand or film-making.
One of the ideas that came out of the last meeting was that some of us can head up "teams" that would work on stuff of a common interest. So, for example, April might be working on the remaking downtown blog, and recruiting anyone interested to collaborate with her, Leia might do the same with community gardens, Loren and Rod might collaborate on community recreation (public putting greens that double as grass basketball courts got us going), another person on mountain-biking trails within the city, another on greenways and linear parks, another on community art spaces, etc.
Other things: Ian and Steve mentioned that the kind of things our group is involved is really what civic engagement is about. And while Murray has mentioned the idea that meeting together can provide a hub for information, resources, advice, and general support for any particular group centered on a specific interest, Ian talked recently with me about how we might end up being an organization that serves as a sort of a incubator and general resource for emerging public-interest and advocacy groups that have local concerns.
As a part of talking about their interests in the group, Michael Parker talked a bit about his experiences in Portland, April Dahm about her's in Seattle WA and Northampton MA, Rod in
Robert Treudau mentioned we might meet on the turf of people we want to involve more, such as people in the black community. Roderick Loud was there and he agreed, and liked Robert's idea of meeting at Brother's Seafood. Loren agreed too, but yours truly has to now confess he's a little worried about expense, and Michael Parker has liked the home idea. Gee maybe we could take turns hosting or picking a spot to NOT host?
(More on that in the next post.)