March 2000 Issue of "Our Towns 2010" Newsletter
Collaboration Is Key

At the semi-annual meeting of the Lycoming Neighborhood Development Corporation in October of last year, I introduced the "Twelve Initiatives" that were designed to strengthen neighborhoods throughout Lycoming County. One of the initiatives, "Alignment Of Similar Groups", was proposed as a necessary tool to form synergistic relationships with organizations similar to that of our own in an effort to collaborate and reach a common goal.

Establishing partners is vital to the success of every community. It is important to identify every obstacle as a complex array of ingredients that can be approached from a myriad of angles. To conquer these obstacles alone, although noble, is not the most effective solution in a time that demands expedient and definitive results. Who our partners are and how they play an important role in our goals for a more vibrant Lycoming County are questions that can only be answered by establishing more effective modes of communication. The Housing Forum, conducted last summer is a prime example of creating an arena designed to freely exchange ideas, as well as, identifying partners to collaborate in a shared vision.

Dan Burden, the founder and director of "Walkable Communities," will be visiting our area in early April to conduct a "walkable audit" of our community in a effort to help make our municipalities more walkable, and therefore more attractive places to live, work and raise a family. Dan Burden is well known throughout the world as an expert in traffic calming procedures and streetscape creation, with people as the primary focus and not automobiles. Mr. Burden's visit was made possible by the collaborative efforts of groups from the private, public and nonprofit sectors of our county.

At a "Safe Communities" meeting last September, chaired by Beth Montgomery, {LHA Director} I introduced material I had received from the Walkable Communities Organization. Present at the meeting were committee members representing The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Comprehensive Highway Safety Program, The Lycoming County Planning Commission, Susquehanna Health Systems, Williamsport Police Department and others. The culmination of our ideas took the form of a presentation last month that was co-sponsored by Our Towns 2010. Representatives from municipalities throughout Lycoming County were present. The Lycoming County Planning Commission informed our group weeks before the meeting that they had received a grant from the PA Department of Transportation to fund programs and initiatives important to transportation enhancement throughout the county. Dan Burden's visit matched the criteria necessary to release funds, and the $5,000 fee for the walkable assessment initiative was satisfied. Every municipality representative who attended the walkable presentation agreed to participate in the initiative- a collaborative affirmation that solutions need to be considered in an efforts to improve the quality of life throughout Lycoming County.

The walkable communities initiative is demonstrative of groups successfully working together. Various groups political ideologies fade into one common belief : "The whole is worth more than the sum of it's parts." Partnerships build relationships that grow stronger with the advent of each new member and the end result will inevitably be success.