To update you since my last post: I was trying to ascertain how the city plans to communicate the proposals about the future of Flat Rock Creek pool to the residents of this area. To date, I’ve mentioned it to a few more neighbors, but before I attempted any broad-based communication, I first wanted to see if the city planned to sponsor any forums to share the information directly with residents.
To that end, I sent an email last Friday afternoon to the director of parks and recreation as well as to the two city council persons for my area inquiring about the prospect of public forums. I received an email reply yesterday morning (Monday) from the parks and recreation director. He stated that his staff was exploring ways to communicate the information to residents over the course of the next few weeks that could include forums, homes association meetings, door hangers, and an enhanced website.
A couple of council people have expressed through comments on this blog their fierce interest in resident opinion. At this point, I see transparency in government processes and a genuine willingness of officials and personnel to answer questions and address concerns, which is what I’d hoped would be the case. While I await the city’s exploration of options and a plan that will move us to the next phase of information dissemination, let me give some general background.
In the last post, I gave you the lowdown on my meltdown, so this time I’ll brief you on the context of this city and the pool. Please remember that I provide my own perceptions and perspectives as an average citizen. I’m neither a historian nor a journalist, which I do believe is more than obvious by the utter lack of concision in my writing. But just in case you wondered.
What I know about my fair city I have gleaned by living in it for 15 years, not by making a study of it. A lot of what I know is lodged in memory, now a veritable warehouse of meanings and experiences related to Flat Rock Creek that over time have interfaced with and pinged back to other life experiences.
To the degree this city could be viewed as a typical bedroom community and perhaps representative of many smaller cities in the historical landscape of the American suburb, it could equally be deemed quirky and progressive, which is definitely a significant piece of what drew us to it.
In terms of the really big picture, it’s part of a larger metropolitan area that covers a lot of ground in two states. The state line is, in fact, a street running north and south down the middle of the city–roughly–and called, if you can believe it, State Line Road. Edgevale, where I grew up, is in one state; Flat Rock Creek, where I presently live, is in the other.
Life in my state is further complicated by the fact that there are many smaller municipalities coexisting within one county. Our back fence, for instance, marks the border between two of these municipalities, one large and one small. We chose to live in the smaller one because it felt to us more like a small town than a big city.
Please note the entire metropolitan area is rife with borders, some of which appear on maps but many of which are invisible to the naked eye. From where I live, you could easily drive through three cities to get to the closest grocery store less than a mile away, depending on which of the equidistant routes you took. To get to my parents home fifteen minutes away in this same state, I’d drive through six cities even if I took the highway.
Just as the Santa Fe Trail beckoned pioneers in a southwest traverse across the metropolitan area, this little city, landlocked to the east, north, and south by other larger cities, fostered an intense and exponential westward expansion of rooftops. I’d guess it now has at least twice as many homes as it had when we moved here and is in its second attempt to sponsor a similar expansion for business: the first, a business corridor characterized by a thoughtfully planned infrastructure and growing more gradually than expected but eventually garnering the desired businesses, and the current, a city center area, the construction of which has been slowed temporarily by the current economic tailspin.
But even as it seeks larger companies to invest in its business areas, the city teems with locally owned and one-of-a-kind restaurants and retail stores. The grocery store I hit on my way home from the city council meeting is a family-owned local chain. One of its earliest locations was near my home in Edgevale and it was renowned for its excellent poultry. Right next door is a locally owned gift shop which caters to women in the community who frequent it in search of home decor items and gifts, of course (they are particularly adept at helping people find ones at the last minute), and the extraordinary customer service for which it’s well known.
But grocery stores and gift shops are hardly novel in a community. What makes the two I’ve mentioned so is that both take pains to offer locally produced items among their wares and you are assured of seeing someone you know when you shop there. That last part is the intangible but critical aspect of what makes this city so like Edgevale. On the rare occasion you don’t see someone you know from the community in either place, you can always count on store employees to recognize you and some of the youngest of them probably attended school with your kids.
In fact, this past Sunday when I stopped in the gift store, I bumped into a high school friend from Edgevale who resided a few blocks from me in Flat Rock Creek but moved a couple of years ago to a new home on the western edge of the city to accommodate her growing family. Seeing her reminded me that I am not the only one from there who found Flat Rock Creek.
Finally, Flat Rock Creek pool sits next to a historic campground on the Santa Fe Trail for which it is named at the southern tip of this city in the middle of a triangular pocket of land due south of a business park that separates it from the historic blocks dubbed “Old Town,” where all mercantile and city government was originally located when the town first sprang from a train depot and trading post well over 100 years ago.