Posted by: endyvendy | August 28, 2009

Top Ten Priorities for Rockville

An Imagining of Revitalized Rockville

An Imagining of Revitalized Rockville

The Town Council meeting on Tuesday the 18th was a real rip-snorter. I can’t adequately capture it all here, but if you want to hear why the Public Works Department turned out en masse for the meeting, click on the Courant’s report here. The Friends of Valley Falls were also there to request the council’s support for a grant for Parks and Rec to renovate the Valley Falls Barn which is already used to support learning and recreation in the area. Alan Slobodien from the Vernon Community Network presented an update on VCN’s ambitious community planning process for ensuring that every child is “safe, healthy, and productive” in Vernon. The Rockville Downtown Association also presented an update on their activities and progress this year.

But I’m writing to offer an overview of the Rockville Community Alliance‘s presentation: Top Ten Priorities for Rockville. Presenter Jim Sendrak emphasized the collaborative nature of the process from which these priorities emerged and the facilitative role played by the RCA. The Top Ten Priorities listed in the presentation (in no particular order) were as follows:

1. Community – identifying needs and available support in the community, expanding recreational facilities particularly for children and young adults.

2. Education – closer partnership and better communication between schools and the community so that we get the word out about what’s going well and work together in areas that need improvement.

3. Identify and develop existing resources – Rockville has a lot going for it including the Civil War Museum, both architectural and natural beauty, and the Gene Pitney legacy (why not have Gene Pitney Theater and Museum?). We need to invest in what we already have and promote it.

4. Downtown revitalization and redevelopment – we need a comprehensive, long-term plan and a strong, unique identity to guide this vision.

5. Communications – a centralized town calendar of events, continued work on the town’s web presence, and open and regular meetings between town officials and representatives of interested organizations to keep the plan on track. Sendrak observed that improvements to the town website and the recent town newsletter are great examples of improved communication in the town.

6. Opportunity – the affordability and beauty of the homes in this area can be very attractive to young families and new homeowners. The town and those involved in improving Rockville need to promote its investment potential to these audiences, develop stronger relationships with realtors and business groups, and perhaps consider offering incentives to renters who want to become owners.

7. Comprehensive Energy Plan – the town can save taxpayers money by using renewable energy sources and procuring grants to implement a comprehensive energy plan. This would benefit both residents and businesses, making the community more attractive to potential investors.

8. Public Relations – signs of progress need to be broadcast. For example, Roosevelt Mills is in the process of being developed, and if there was a sign in place by the road, it would look less like an eyesore and more like progress.

9. General Beautification – removal of dead trees and broken fences can easily be done by a motivated group of volunteers in an expanded version of the usual Spring Clean-up.

10. Blight – we need a comprehensive, published plan for dealing with these properties, a plan accountable to all parties involved in cleaning up Rockville. Rules and regulations should be on-line as well, and if they aren’t sufficient for coping with existing problems, should be revisited. A detailed organizational chart of town departments and responsibilities should be posted on the web and widely available so that citizens know to whom they can go with complaints about non-compliant property owners. A “hot list” of problem properties should be generated and as properties are dealt with, new ones can be added.

The presentation was very well-received, so we’ll see how things move forward! If you have relevant news on related initiatives, send it my way and I’ll be sure to post it.

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