Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It takes a neighborhood to raise a neighborhood.

Though I do not deserve it, I have recently been the focus of a few pro-Rose-Park articles in the Salt Lake Tribune.

"Civility in public discourse about more than being nice" by Lisa Carricaburu, and "Group leads revival in Rose Park" by Katie Drake.

I must be candid in saying that I was very apprehensive to blog about these experiences. I am uncomfortable at best when it comes to receiving praise, especially when I feel so many others are more deserving. There are literally hundreds of amazing individuals in our community that deserve it more than I. Nevertheless, as it pertains to our collective mission of seeing our beloved neighborhood preserved and enhanced for future generations, I decided it was my responsibility to share what I have learned during this process.

Much of this latest surge spawned from a somewhat negative event. The Tribune published a pair of articles that, in my opinion, cast our neighborhood in an inaccurate light. The article was backed by what the writer felt to be a consummate level of information obtained primarily by the Utah Health Department and a few other sources. Having some question as to the intent of the article, I wrote to the writer and the editor. Though I was noticeably frustrated, I did my best to write my thoughts in such a way as to pay respect to the writer and to give her the benefit of the doubt until we could meet and discuss the true intent and future scope of the articles.

A short time passed and I received a reply, a reply that turned out to be an invitation to myself and others in the community including Councilman Carlton Christensen, and Community Council Chair Brad Bartholomew. We attended this meeting a short time later and I came away with a renewed hope in our local press. The panel we met with was genuinely apologetic for not including some of the brighter spots in our community. They also agreed that a story of this nature should include potential solutions rather than painting an insurmountably dismal picture and then walking away. We discussed our diversity, our neighborliness and lack of pretense, I did my best to defend and enlighten but more so to forge relationships with these people just as I would with my neighbors in Rose Park.

A few days later, these articles popped up in print and online. The writers were kind, spoke well of Rose Park and our residents, and made progress toward their previous years of weighted journalism, but here's the deal; The media will always report on substantiated facts, even if they are of negative content. It's their job, plain and simple and we can't complain if we've done nothing to improve that content.

That's where we as Rose Park Residents come in.

In my next post I hope to have all the details worked out for the first annual Rose Park Revival Summit. In this event we hope to map out our goals for the future, create focus groups to further develop and study our goals, and begin a plan of implementation. We need project managers, community liaisons, service oriented individuals, and folks with expertise in everything from gardening to fitness, to fund raising. If we are to succeed, it will take the better part of our neighborhood to do so. It is undeniable that "The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts", and now that the ball is rolling, we need as many people as we can get.

If we as Rose Park residents do all we can to hold ourselves and our neighbors to the standards we'd like to be known for, then the press will have very little negative to report.

I look forward to working with all of you. 2011 looks very promising.

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