Public Support Makes a Difference

Bringing a building back to life is not for the faint of heart.

Getting your ducks in a row can take months – or sometimes years -- depending upon the complexity of the project. Inevitably, there are challenges.

So a little encouragement goes a long way.

I’m still a little surprised how often people stop me at the grocery or a restaurant to inquire about my projects. They’re curious about The Legacy’s (former) cheese-grater exterior, or our plans for the bank vault, or which restaurant will be showcased on the ground level.

I’ll hear from The Times Lofts’ tenants who tell me how much they love their new home. Or people who wonder about the next project I’ve got up my sleeve.

It makes a difference.

Because every “thank you” or “I drove an extra block just to see what’s new at your building” shows just how much our community values these projects.

You don’t have to be a developer to make a difference. Here are four ways to show you love your community and want to see it thrive:

1. TELL THE POWERS THAT BE  -- Let’s face it: We’re all much more likely to share our opinions if we’re opposed to something rather than in favor of it. I’m guilty of it, too. I think it’s human nature, unfortunately.

But keyboard warriors who spout off on social media spreading negativity and misinformation aren’t part of the solution.

If something bothers you or gets under your skin, please put in a call, send an email, or attend a public meeting. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the help you’ll receive. Then once you’ve gathered the facts, feel free to share your opinion.

But if you’re excited about a potential development in your community, it’s important to speak up, too. Take the time to reach out to your local, state or federal elected officials and voice your support loud and clear.

It’s only if we constructively voice our opinions that we help shape the communities we love.

2. WHERE DO WE SIGN UP? -- One of the biggest ways to support communities and development is just getting involved. Volunteering on boards for the city, your neighborhood business district, serving the public in an elected capacity, at schools, churches, groups, organizations and special events is a great way to show you care and improves the quality of life for everyone.

3. SPREAD THE WORD -- A great way to advocate for your town is by talking it up.  Go ahead and let out-of-towners know how far we’ve come – and what great treasures they’ll discover when they visit. Post positive reviews of your favorite businesses. Weave together a fun itinerary on TripAdvisor and share it. 

Build up your community, don’t cut it down. Erase all those negative monikers from your vocabulary. It doesn’t matter if you’re only joking; you never know who’s listening.

4. SMILE – Being warm and welcoming makes a huge impact and builds our reputation as a great community. Out-of-town visitors will notice how friendly and hospitable we are and people in town on business are more likely to return. That friendliness makes a difference with our neighbors, too, because it strengthens our social bonds.

I believe our community’s positive character makes fighting for the character of a building worthwhile. Sometimes the work is grueling and the red tape stretches out for miles and miles.

But I love it. Nothing else challenges me like this work and, at the same time, makes me feel fulfilled and grateful. I’ve learned to celebrate the victories when they come.

And to appreciate a kind word or two along the way.