Sunday, May 31, 2009

Local Laveen Summit Update

Sorry I've been away from this blog for the last three weeks. During that time, I've taken three trips out of town, received an industry certification (crammed/took test during the days after our Summit), taken care of a minor baby surgery, and had some major housework to do. But enough excuses.

Our Local Laveen Summit was a huge hit. After what I can only describe as a brilliantly pleasing but tiring collaborative effort, we were rewarded with great attendance and an enthralling panel discussion. The temperature was far above what I thought it would be in the "shaded" (ya, right) outdoor space we used, and yet we had about 70 people show up to listen and express their thoughts about our community. So aside from my poor planning of the space requirements, everything went well. *and yes, we will plan differently next time....

Thanks to Krag Klages, our incoming LCC president, I even have some notes to share:

*Business Growth/Development

Keeping Laveen prosperous and growing
Medical facility/hospital is top priority
Roller rink, Bowling alley, Youth center(s) are being considered
LA Fitness at 51st Ave. and Baseline is very close, but negotiations still ongoing – stay tuned

Get groups working together – mentoring new business owners, creating partnerships to drive new business together
Increase businesses in Laveen
Future small business workshops planned
Residents have “the power to invite people”
Word-of-mouth and referrals is best way in this kind of economy
Call Mike Moreines directly if you have any ideas for new businesses (Terrazona Properties)
Grassroots business growth

Keeping Laveen “rural” is still a high priority, even with growth

*Traffic Growth/Development

202 Freeway/Parkway Project
Environmental Impact Statement has yet to be done – 8 years going
Should be a meeting in next 2 months to decide direction of project
They are facing $1 billion deficit
Definitely TOP priority and biggest project going on in Laveen
People of Laveen need to band together – Fight to make this happen!

Other projects
Hold up on street work due to three things:
lack of funds
county islands
US canals – somewhat unique to cities like Laveen – a lot of red tape
Bridge to new police precinct at 91st Ave. not happening until freeway decisions finalized

*Community Issues and Events

First and foremost, making this Summit a quarterly meeting is a priority
58th Laveen BBQ is on as scheduled – as is Turkey Trot, Easter Egg hunt, etc.
Bike Busters and blighted areas
Citizens are being trained in 4-day programs to issue citations as they see fit
A kind of “Blight Task Force”
Citizens need to “take back their neighborhood”

Schools being built/School renovations
Two Laveen schools built first
Then renovations will be done
These are scheduled as planned

Keeping kids in Laveen busy/Getting kids involved
Youth centers are a high priority for the city and are aggressively being looked into
Parents, get your kids to VOLUNTEER – this is best-case scenario
kids are busy and community is helped
Call Mike Moreines – he can try and find jobs for high schoolers w/ his retail tenants

That's about all I've got, although I can't possibly say thank you enough to our panelists (see previous post) and all those who helped make this happen. We couldn't have done it without the backing of Councilman Nowakowski's office, Terrazona Properties, and all those who donated goods/services. They are Damian Rufus (DJ), for his sound system; Ace Hardware for the space and tables/chairs; Safeway and Fry's for food; Starbucks for coffee; and Corona Ranch for table linens. Also, I want to thank Randy Schiller for being our MC/host, Debbie Zapatka for her design skills, and Janet Gidney for helping run the event. (And then there's always Randy Jones, Claudine Reifschneider, and my lovely wife Catherine, who were my primary sounding board).

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