You Are A Community Organizer

Yes, you are a community organizer. I am too. Each of us is.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of this as I’ve heard various people say that downtown Blacksburg will never change – it’ll always be full of bars, a couple shops here and there, and vacant storefronts. Parking will always stink, unless we get Valet Parking Service all over the area. It’ll never get better.

And then I ran across this video.  Take just 15 minutes to watch this video – I promise, you’ll look at where you live as an opportunity and not a liability.

I showed this video to a friend, and she immediately told me why it couldn’t be done here in Blacksburg. “It’s too small”, she said. “College kids leave for the summers”, she said. So what?

  1. Show up. I’m reminded of time I served on the board of a Homeowners Association. I got involved because I was tired of complaining about our HOA, which seemed to have a host of rules and regulations that no one really knew why they were there, but “we were going to follow them”, regardless of whether they were the right thing to do or not. The same people showed up to each meeting, and virtually no homeowners – other than those on the board – ever attended the. It was a cycle of mediocrity, and nothing ever got down. If you want things to change, show up.
  2. Give it a name. Companies have names. People have names. Names give us identity. When Blacksburg created the Market Square Park, they didn’t call it “that half block at the corner of Roanoke and Draper Streets”. We want that identifying name, something to rally behind. And when people rally, things get done.
  3. Set a date and publish it. Force yourself to have a goal in mind. And as people find out about it, others will want to help.
So many of us want things to happen, but we expect someone else to make it happen. “That’s the community organizers’ job”, we say.  The people behind the Blacksburg Children’s Museum certainly didn’t subscribe to that idea. The founders of VICCC, a non-profit child care center, started with $2000 made from a yard sale – they certainly didn’t subscribe to the idea that someone else should do it. is proving that each of us is the community organizer. I’ll be looking at how I can get involved; I certainly need to do a better job of that. What will YOU do?


5 thoughts on “You Are A Community Organizer

  1. Jeremy Post author

    Hi Mary Joe, thanks for stopping by! After watching the video a couple of times I think I tend to disagree *a little* bit with your statement, but I get what you’re saying. There are ways to get involved … what I think the video is trying to convey is that rather than sitting around and wondering why nothing’s getting done, at least do something! And out of that, Nest Realty has an idea – we’ll see if we can get it off the ground.

  2. Tina Merritt

    A couple off weeks ago, I was driving through downtown in the evening. I noticed real people, pedestrians, strolling along the sidewalks all the way from the Blacksburg Motor Company to the traffic circle. To me, that is so incredibly amazing! Just a few years ago, pedestrians didn’t venture further than a few feet from the corner of College and Main. We have been blessed with a beautiful footprint for a Town. Now, it’s up to the do’ers to dress it up!

  3. Mary Joe

    Very true that dreams can make reality come true. But some “organizers” act on their own with a mission without checking to see the wonderful things that we have here that they could help out. Not everything needs to be a brand new project!

  4. Burger

    It drives me absolutely insane when I hear Blacksburgers (or Christiansburgers) gripe about Blacksburg, and Downtown Blacksburg in particular. Once upon a time The Lyric Theater was closed. It did not show new, art films or host internationally known performers. Once upon a time most of the new businesses downtown weren’t here and the idea of living within the primary downtown area was limited to a very few run down student apartments. Today people are BUYING residences in the heart of downtown. The Arts Center, College Avenue Promenade, Market Square and the Farmer’s Market, so many wonderful things have come to downtown. And YES! Absolutely, it needs continuing work – any place worth living does. Building and curating a better future never stops! Nor should it! I bring friends to town and they are always surprised at how our Downtown and our town in general looks and feels like such a wonderful place to work, go to school and live. And ABSOLUTELY – with more residents coming downtown, with more startup businesses settling here we are seeing our year-round population catching up with our seasonal student population. That should be our goal – and it is happening as everything from the VTCRC, to Modea, to Digital and Creative Economy Jobs are in fact being created and staying right here. If you or someone you know goes negative…just remind them to walk downtown and sit on a bench and watch the people for a few hours…it will change your point of view on today and the future. (Very excited about The Brownstones and Fiddler’s Green/OLD BMS projects) as they will fill in the ‘holes’ and tie much of the ‘perception’ together that this is one unified Downtown district.

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