When those of us who live or work in Lennox think about the future, many of us might not think about what a “thriving community” looks like. We might hope for one thing or another, and while we might not agree, one thing is certain, the change will come.
Most recently a few community members joined with staff of Dakota Resources to do just that and think about what a thriving Lennox would look like. Community coach Paula Jensen led the event that was held last Monday, November 1st in the Lennox Intermediate School cafetorium.
Those is attendance included many community members as well as city mayor Stacy Jacobsen DuChene and city administrator Nate Vander Plaats. Those in attendance were asked to start the evening by introducing themselves and defining what their “best Lennox” would look like.
Some of the answers included continuous improvement, a place where people live, work and worship safely, more community spaces, pride in the community, water not a limiting factor, and a place where families thrive.
The group was then asked to write down five to ten items that they think would improve the community and make it a thriving community. After each person in attendance created their list, they were then asked to work in small group of three to four to come up with three to five ideas that were ones that the group thought would truly make the community a “thriving” place.
Once the groups came back together as a large group the small groups had the chance to share their ideas. While the list included many great ideas, a few of them were revitalize Main street, dog park, affordable housing, more restaurants, dance studio, coffee shop, improved roads and youth center.
With all the ideas up on the wall the group was then given the task of coming up with what it would take in the next three years to make the things listed above happen. The main ideas of what would need to happen to make everything work was financing, incentives for new business owners, community engagement, investing in the future, revitalization, and vision.
The group as a collective narrowed the most important thing to engagement. The common consensus was that without community engagement the list above would be just that, a list. There needs to be individuals willing to come together and work together to create the “thriving” community that was the topic of the evening.
While it may seem like just a dream, Andy Kuyper a resident of Lennox said during the final moments of the event that we “shouldn’t be scared of how it [growth] is going to happen, because it will happen, but how are we going to make it happen.”
While the meeting was simply to gage community interest and see where community members would like to see Lennox head in the future, it is vital information for the city as they move forward in the coming weeks and discuss their plan for, as Kuyper put it, the growth that is sure to come.