Conserve, Connect, Create. Which one resonates with you?
One HEC staffer attempts, and fails, to pick just one.
by Bob Weaver
Which one resonates with you when you think about the Mounds Greenway – Conserve, Connect, or Create? This is a question we posed on Facebook. It has 20 plus “Likes”, which I assume is a ‘vote’ for all three. Nobody took the bait and picked one as a favorite. Maybe it wasn’t controversial enough. Or maybe it’s a trick question in that all three are worthy. And intertwined. Or it wasn’t formatted in a survey format. Could be any number of these reasons.
I thought about being the first to comment. Then, I realized it was a tough question that had been posed. Pick one. Well, they’re all great. As I thought about it, I tried to think like a political commentator, a radio host, or someone on trial – No waffling! Pick one! Yes or No. Still…it’s a tough one. Here’s what I was thinking.
Conserve. Hey, I work for Hoosier Environmental Council. That’s in our mission – “to make Indiana a better place to live, breathe, work, and play.” Living and breathing. What could have such an impact as to preserve a forest-lined river corridor and the ecology within it? And to preserve the clean air and cool waters that move through it? And to demonstrate and share its value with a greenway and trail that promotes access and sharing? It has such long-range influence, reaching future as-yet unknown generations. It’s inspiring to go to the river, or to watch a video from a local producer, or to hear a local biologist speak of the rebounding White River. Each of these activities is an opportunity to understand what’s going on beneath the waters and along its banks, and to believe that we can be a part of its preservation. Living, breathing, future generations – this one speaks pretty strongly to me. Maybe Conserve is ‘the one.’
Connect. Is East Central Indiana meant to be seen only in passing, through the window of a car or truck? Or is there more that connects us to the land than a ribbon of highway? The same river that flows through Muncie, flows through Anderson – and the communities in-between. Points of interest and activity – recreation, prehistoric sites, camps, scenic overlooks, fishing spots – all connected by the river. Put a boat in. The flow will guide you. What if you’re on bike or on foot – can you connect with those points on a greenway trail? In a reflective way? Or in a recreational way? Or both? This feels pretty deep. Maybe this one speaks to me the most. Connecting with nature. Connecting with the corridor.
But we haven’t even looked at Create. Or creation of opportunities. A greenway like this can help build a culture – one that values and celebrates the amenities that make East Central Indiana a special place to live. There are so many examples of how connection to rivers and recreation outlets such as trails, greenways and conservation corridors can influence local economies, it’s mind-boggling. It seems like there is a multiplier at work – town plans connecting with greenways connecting with cycling infrastructure connecting with walkable neighborhoods connecting with parks…all this stuff working together to create opportunities that didn’t exist before – or haven’t existed in some time. Hmmm. Create. Is that the one?
They do all seem pretty great to me. Conserve. Connect. Create. Maybe that’s why I have to join the ones who ‘Liked’ the question on Facebook. It’s nearly impossible to pull one of the three aspects of the greenway apart from the others. It feels like we truly need all three. I’m in!
As we move forward with this initiative, we’ll need community input on the design and programming of the greenway. It will be up to you, as a citizen of East Central Indiana to let it be known which components of the greenway are important to you and how you hope they are realized.
If you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and want to share a thought you have, use the hashtag #moundsgreenway. Keep an eye out for future public forums and opportunities to get involved. Don’t forget you can sign up for our email newsletter if you want to receive future updates.
Facebook: We asked, you answered. Sort of. So we ask again: “Conserve. Connect. Create. Most important?”