Published first on the Progress News, November 23, 2020

Last week I encouraged everyone to get involved in redevelopment, and this week I want to offer some specific examples of how.  There are three main ways to get involved in your community: ideas, action, and support.  Without ideas, there is no action.  Without action, nothing comes of ideas.  And without support, not much action can happen, and ideas burn out.  Redevelopment needs all three, in spades.

The single most crucial part of the equation is ideas, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on this week.  Without good ideas, we’re just running around like headless chickens, looking like we’re doing a lot but accomplishing nothing.  Goodness knows we all have a ton of thoughts and opinions, but what turns thoughts into ideas, and how can we use those ideas for community benefit?  Sometimes we already have a specific idea, something we’ve been thinking about for ages, and we just need an opportunity to share it.   If you do have a specific idea about redevelopment in our area, you are always welcome to reach out directly at and start a conversation with me.  You can also share those ideas through our Community Vision Survey, which is online at  Just click the link and answer three short questions to tell us what you’re thinking!

The Pennsylvania Downtown Center, which facilitates the statewide Blueprint Initiative, has also just received funding through the USDA to help keep conversation flowing in communities like ours.  The folks at the PDC have put together a Perception Survey, similar to one a few of you may remember from back in 2015, to see how everyone is feeling about our downtown areas right now.  The perception survey can also be accessed through our Blueprint website,, or our Facebook page.  This one is a bit longer, but it still only takes a few minutes, and I really want to encourage everyone to take part in this survey.  Here’s the deal: in 2015, the Blueprint team only received around thirty responses.  Thirty.  I know we have a lot more than 30 people living and working in and around the Valley!  So make sure your voice is heard when questions are asked – your thoughts are important!

Gathering thoughts is just the start of the process, of course.  Then we need to refine our thoughts into implementable ideas – stuff we can actually do, that will actually have a beneficial impact.  If you want to be part of that crucial link between ideas and action, you have several options.  Talking to me directly is always one, of course.  I can honestly say there is no brighter part of my day than when I have the opportunity to brainstorm with folks who are as excited by community redevelopment as I am!  We also have steering committees set up for the Blueprint and regional redevelopment initiatives.  Join in, take a seat at the table, and help us mix and blend everyone’s ideas into the delicious stuff soup that will improve all of our lives for generations to come.

Next week – action and support.  See you then!