Sell-out crowd for Chapel Hill 2020

George Cianciolo reports on the Chapel Hill 2020 kickoff:

The first meeting of Chapel Hill 2020, the process designed to develop a new Comprehensive Plan for Chapel Hill, kicked off this evening at East Chapel Hill High School. It started with an open house from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by introductory remarks by Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and a description of the process to be used by the facilitator, Matt Leighninger, and then brief remarks by town manager Roger Stancil and the two Chapel Hill 2020 co-chairs, Rosemary Waldorf and George Cianciolo. The attendees, seated in groups at approximately 30 tables, then spent an hour getting to know one another and sharing their thoughts regarding what should go into a vision statement and what key theme areas should be considered for focusing on as the process evolves. The last 20 minutes included a brief summation by Matt Leighninger and a brief description by representatives from six of the tables of some of the ideas that had emerged from their discussions. The discussions at each of the tables were facilitated by either one of our Leadership Team members, 18 individuals who had been recruited by Rosemary or George to be facilitators throughout the entire process, town staffpersons who also had undergone the same facilitation training as the Leadership Team or facilitators from the School of Government.

I think I speak for everyone involved (the initiating team that began this process, the Outreach Committee that has worked hard to insure we get as many and as diverse a group of attendees as possible, the mayor, the town manager, the town staff and Rosemary and myself) when I say this first meeting was an outstanding success. At 7 p.m., fire chief Dan Jones counted the number of individuals seated at the tables and it was 378. Since some folks were there but standing, it would be safe to say we had 400+ attendees at this event – possibly a record for a public meeting for Chapel Hill. We also had representatives from Carrboro, the County Commission and the School Board, including the new superintendent. Was this first meeting problem free – No. Some folks quickly recognized that the number of people, the closeness of the tables and the acoustics of the East Chapel Hill High cafeteria area did not make for easy listening. Did they complain – No. In the spirit of roll-up-your-sleeves and get involved that we’re looking for in this process, they gathered their materials and went outside (thank goodness it wasn’t raining) and set up shop. We had about one-fifth of the group working outside.

It was a great start to what will be an 8-month process, but we have a long way to go. We asked everyone there to come back to our next meeting (Oct 6) with five family members, friends, colleagues or acquaintances in tow. Our challenge now, given the success of tonight, is to find a suitable venue for that meeting and to keep the excitement and enthusiasm going. But we will get it done, and we hope to see at least 2-3 times tonight’s crowd at that next meeting. During this interval we will be going through all the suggestions and ideas generated and shared tonight and drafting a vision plan and a set of key theme areas for the group to begin finalizing and prioritizing respectively. We hope to see you all there. But if you can’t come, you can still leave your comment(s) and share your thoughts on our blog at:
– George Cianciolo

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  1. John Kramer

     /  September 28, 2011

    Wow, what a magical time!

  2. DOM

     /  September 28, 2011

    I was there and was thoroughly impressed by the sense of optimism and cooperation in the air. A fun and interesting evening. If nothing else, I met several other citizens like myself who want to see Chapel Hill become an even better place to live.

  3. Anita Badrock

     /  September 28, 2011

    It was powerful. I especially appreciated the number of new people who were there and told me they had never been to a TC meeting, a public hearing, or anything of the other more traditional ways that we seek input from the community. That tells me that something struck a chord with the outreach.

    So if you were there, come back and bring a friend, if you weren’t there, come next time. October 6. Place to be announced.

  4. Jon DeHart

     /  September 28, 2011

    It was a great crowd last night . Well over 400 people there .

  5. John Kramer

     /  September 28, 2011

    So, what tangible results will there be from this meeting?

  6. George C

     /  September 29, 2011

    Nancy had asked me to post this report because she was unable to be at the meeting on Tuesday night. She had gone to be with her mother who was seriously ill. Unfortunately her mother passed away Tuesday and Nancy won’t be posting anything this week. Just wanted you all to know.

  7. Scott Maitland

     /  September 29, 2011

    George, please give Nancy my best.

    Kramer, didn’t see you at the 20/20 event. Come on out for the next meeting because anyone who is not involved really undermines their stature to be a meaningful critic.


  8. Fred Black

     /  September 29, 2011

    Teddy Roosevelt had it right with his post-presidency quote, “Man in the Arena:”

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    “Citizenship in a Republic,”
    Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

  9. John Kramer

     /  September 29, 2011

    Thanks for the invitation Mr. Maitland, but I will be busy then. It would be interesting to know what the concrete results of these meetings will be.

  10. Linda Convissor

     /  September 29, 2011

    In deference to Nancy’s loss, it would be nice to see some love on this site. Maybe some acceptance that we are all less than perfect and most of the time, try our best. I have to say, it’s easier for me to hear what people say when they are not yelling at each other. I hope to write about my experience at CH2020 (in short, it was a thumbs up, fun, thoughtful and I met some interesting people) but I think this is a good time for a pause to reflect.

  11. Jon DeHart

     /  September 30, 2011

    I agree, Well said !!!