Our 5 Year Plan is off to a great start, and it’s all thanks to you!
On Saturday, February 13th, we hosted our first event of the planning process, and boy did we have a wonderful turn out. Over 25 people from all over the neighborhood came out to share their thoughts on Cooper-Young. Attendees were a good mix of new faces and old, renters and property owners, long-time residents and brand new community members; it was truly a treat to see everyone sitting down at one long table to talk about the neighborhood we all love.
Just as we promised, this event was no common focus group. Our expert volunteer, Sanne Roijmans, lead us in several activities throughout the session. Participants enjoyed listing the things they love about our neighborhood before getting a kick out of an exercise when participant penned the worst bumper sticker for Cooper-Young. Some of the funny entries included “CY: Where we’re all the same, and we like it that way” and “A bad day in Collierville, Germantown, or Cordova is better than a good day in CY”. Even our stray dogs got a mention with “Cooper-Young: Home of the world-renowned wild dog packs”.
After having a bit of fun, we got down to business coming up with ideas for the neighborhood. Roijmans instructed everyone to think about anything and everything we could do; there were no boundaries on what attendees could suggest, as Roijmans told us, “fish can fly and birds can swim.” This was definitely the favorite part of the process. As people worked on their ideas, passing them to neighbors for more suggestions and finally to our event volunteers, we got to see our walls fill up with exciting plans. Some of them were very down to earth while others were certainly a bit off the wall. One of the favorites was the suggestion to train stray cats as ninjas to fight off crime — not very likely, but certainly a lot of fun to think about. We also loved seeing all the thoughts people had on fixing up our sidewalks and some of our rundown properties while also focusing on making our neighborhood more environmentally friendly.
Finally, everyone got to spend some time checking out these cool ideas and telling us which ones were their favorites. We all got so carried away, people even stayed for some time after the planned activities were finished.
Now that we’ve had one great session, we’re even more excited for our next focus group scheduled for Saturday, March 5th at 10 a.m. If you came out to this last session, please come out and join us once again. We’re also hoping to see several new faces, so don’t worry if you missed us the first time around.
This time we’ll be taking some of those wonderful ideas down off the walls and thinking of ways to turn them from suggestions into reality. We know everyone in Cooper-Young can dream of an even better tomorrow for the neighborhood, but now it’s time to really figure out how to accomplish those goals with the resources we have right here in our community.
Just like last time, we’ll be providing breakfast and a lot of fun ways to think about Cooper-Young. We also have a special thank you gift for everyone who comes out: a unique green t-shirt celebrating your involvement with the planning process. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP as soon as you can by calling (901) 272-2922 or emailing email@example.com. We are looking into meeting in a larger space due to the fantastic turn out at the first session, but we still need you to let us know you’re coming so we can plan accordingly. — Kristen Schebler