Waco deserves to be a better place

By · October 30, 2008 · Filed in Time for change

Waco Town Square
Waco Town Square

Groundwork is being laid for an ambitious planning process to redevelop Waco’s heart with housing, shops, work places, attractions, visitor amenities, schools, civic facilities, parks and greenbelts, grand boulevards and neighborhood streets.

Greater Waco Chamber, city and civic leaders will invite the community to help envision a safe, healthy, sustainable downtown from Quinn Campus to 18th Street and from Interstate 35 to Waco Drive.

We will be guided through the process by a nationally recognized team of consultants, but the plan will be created by interested and affected citizens who will help shape our future based on their vision.

To mobilize volunteers to participate in the planning process the Chamber will establish an all-volunteer entity called 1000 Friends of Waco.

America’s most successful cities are making walkable, urban places a priority as they build mixed-use, high-density development (apartments above coffee shops, office space above grocery stores). In the process, they are driving down energy costs and building competitive advantages.

We believe that this urban development pattern will make our city more attractive for the more than 400,000 people who will live in McLennan County in year 2050 and not just for young professionals and empty nesters but for families with children who will enjoy walking in the city and to schools, parks, libraries and churches.

We have made spectacular progress in the last two years, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Challenge Greater Waco program and the development of the Chamber’s Strategic Economic Development Plan, the recent city and school district bond issues, and the exciting redevelopment initiatives all over downtown Waco. The work to date has brought clarity to many issues. Many believe we are at a moment when vast change is necessary, possible and even likely.

Much of what we do in the community we do because it’s what we’ve always done. Observers believe that we are at a tipping point that could change our path in a direction we have never gone before. This creates a tremendous opportunity to live in a better place. Research and communication can help us to better understand the dynamics at work in the world and develop strategies to make progress through a focused, educated and sophisticated effort.

This effort, with your help and input, will develop models for success. But even though future growth patterns are becoming clear in many cities across the country, they are not understood in our region and certainly are not being taken advantage of.

This will take support and community involvement, and that is where you come in. In addition to your good will and work, we need you to invest in the process. You know what a great place Waco should be. We need you and/or your organization to make the commitment to actively support Waco’s future.

In 20 years, or maybe in just 10, people will credit 1000 Friends with transforming Waco-1000 Friends who knew that Waco could be a better place to live; 1000 Friends who knew how to make it better; and 1000 Friends who were willing to think and act big enough and bold enough make that change!

Look soon for more information on 1000 Friends of Waco and prepare to participate as we endeavor to change the way the world looks at Waco.

Waco deserves to be a better place.








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