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Old Town AIR, November Update

Old Town AIR Update:


Part I


Part II


Recent Wins:   “Working together to improve community health.”

Bunnell Street Arts Center has joined a broad coalition of community service agencies to identify and foster community health and work collectively for positive change. MAPP of Southern Kenai Peninsula Communities identifies opportunities for health improvement and serves as a catalyst for community action. “MAPP” identifies the need for more collaborative community projects that shape our physical environment and from neighborhood exchange, shared values and communal stewardship. Bunnell’s staff attended the November 8 community meeting to explore how we can engage “Collective Impact” to improve some of the following shared goals:  Affordable Transportation; Biodiverse, Educational and Artistic Opportunities; Healthy Behavior Choices; Healthy & Safe Individuals & Families; Multi-use, Intergenerational Cultural and Recreational Resources; Prevention-Focused health network; Sustainable, Equitable Economy; Sustainable Food, Energy and Water Systems.

MAPP Coordinator, Megan Murphy recognized Bunnell’s Old Town ArtPlace project for successfully invigorating partnerships according to the theory of Collective Impact.  She noted how our project has focused on healthy behavior choices and safe individuals & families by advocating for walkability, communal stewardship and shared values through local and national artistic opportunities. With our success grows our responsibility. At the MAPP meeting we saw many ways we can engage new partnerships in the Southern Kenai Peninsula to nourish a healthier, vibrant place to live.

City acts on pedestrian and bike lane and additional signage for drivers

By using designated trail funds, the City of Homer has committed to improving pedestrian safety and enhancing walkability. The City has also shifted and re-striped narrower traffic lanes and also introduced a new, paved surface for walkers and bikers along East Bunnell Avenue! Yes! For the first time, three pedestrian infrastructures are safely connected: boardwalks, crosswalks and walking lanes! And with a bench, a mural and an edible garden to boot!  This process has been such a wonderful collaboration of neighbors and partners. We have many to thank for these neighborhood improvements.  Three cheers for positive and collaborative discussions, support and organization for proposing solutions and actually seeing the results.

A wave of sponsorships have begun!

What a delight it has been to celebrate the neighborhood developments that have happened since our ArtPlace award in June. And to think, our national AIR Program is still to come!  Old Town ArtPlace has sparked a wave of new memberships and sponsorships of Bunnell Street Arts Center.  Consistent communications between diverse partners has fostered a broad-based shared vision for a vibrant community.  Despite living in an age so ready to differentiate, this project continues to connect common threads. The proof is in the pudding!

“Perfection is the enemy of the good”  

Of course we shoot for the moon and try to nail it the first time, but we must acknowledge that changing any community culture, especially traffic calming, is all a process. Its hard to slow traffic when the City sees ours as a small street terminating at the beach, while decades of driving on the beach invites cars to rev up as they pass by, anticipating miles of brodies. A lot of group discussion, critical thinking, due process and good visioning feeds our Old Town project, but at the end of the day We’ve never done this kind of thing before.  In any project’s development, acknowledging the intention of each effort is vital to it’s forward progress. Project leaders of any capacity should sleep with this under their pillow at night.  There are plenty of opportunities to learn, but there are no mistakes when you participate in healthy collaboration.

Making “Grant Sense”

I am thankful for the opportunity to explain to the community how grant dollars actually work.  How was our Old Town AIR proposal made? Why were we were chosen and how does the funding work?  These questions fuel and important message: Every grant dollar leverages another dollar.  Each pledge is valued. While the stream of funding dollars is clear to most of us who work in the non-profit sector, illuminating the power of varied investments sparks wide-ranging positive investment!   It is our responsibility to invite many to be a part of  positive change, by giving them the opportunity to invest. It is also our responsibility to share this principle with those who aren’t aware of it.  Celebrating philanthropy, collaboration and creative innovation is the new methodology, moving us from the quintessentially DIY culture of Alaska to the DIT: Do it Together, a creative economy of shared responsibility.

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