Richmond Aqueduct

Richmond Aqueduct
Second Largest Aqueduct Built on the Enlarged Erie Canal (1856-1917)

Sunday, October 21, 2012


The Town of Montezuma has entered into a contract with the Office of State, Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for an EPF  planning and development grant. We are happy to announce the acceptance of EDR Companies proposal to assist in the preparation of a master plan for the Montezuma Heritage Park.  Douglas Gerber, RLA, registered Landscape Architect with more than 13 years of professional experience, will be responsible for the project management and design.

We welcome the opportunity for EDR and Doug Gerber to support the Town in discovering the unique potential the park holds for our community. EDR is highly qualified for this type of work having planned and designed dozens of parks and hundreds of miles of multi-use trail environments in their 32-year history. Their multi-disciplinary, research based approach to these types of projects integrates landscape architecture, community planning, site/civil engineering, archeology, environmental and visual assessment. We look forward to involving the community in applying this very holistic approach to our project that will result in cultural, social, economic, ecological and aesthetic impacts.

It's exciting that EDR will be teaming with the Center for Community Design & Research (CCDR), and students from the State University College of Environmental Science & Forestry School of Landscape Architecture. CCDR's mission is to educate students, community leaders and citizens about the value of place and, through the shared practices of planning and design empower them to manage and direct change that will lead to sustainable communities. CCDR will be assisting EDR in continuing in the process of the community visioning started in Montezuma in 2010. This partnership will help continue the positive momentum, community involvement and fresh ideas for our community.

EDR in concert with CCDR will provide consulting services to perform an inventory and analysis, develop project goals, and program options, develop alternative conceptual approaches, prepare a conceptual master plan and prepare a schematic design with a cost estimate for a preferred first phase project area.

Now that's a recipe for success!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Dawn Jordan put the finishing touches on our mural today! What a fantastic job she did, and what a pleasure it was to work with her on this project.  She worked under some pretty difficult weather conditions with the extreme heat we had this summer, but we both were smiling as you put her name and the year on the bottom right corner.

Look for an announcement in the spring for a special dedication and celebration of closing the gap of murals along the Erie Canalway. This completes Phase I of this on to the next. Anyone know where we can find craftsmen boat builders? We're looking for volunteers who will help us build the boat deck that the mural will set on. Below is a model made by Design Committee member, Dan Randolph from plans designed by Town Supervisor John Malenick.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I started this blog over three years ago when the Montezuma Historical Society began making plans for an archaeological dig near the Lock 62 site on Clinton's Ditch. I remember the walk back from the site when Dave Babson, archaeologist and my friend, Margaret Sullivan, suggested a blog could be started to document the dig. "Hum, a blog?" I said. "I guess I better find out what one is." This marks my 100th post, and we now have had over 10,800 views. I've enjoyed keeping readers up-to-date on the progress that has been made over that time. Like any development of this scope, there have been plenty of ups and downs, and what at times seems like slow progress, or even no progress.  Looking back, I can see how far we've come. I've been privileged to work with wonderful dedicated volunteers, and the Highway Department that have made the difference in what you see here, and that's what keeps me motivated and inspired to carry on. There has also been wonderful support from Parks and Trails, New York;  the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor;  Mural Mania; Cayuga Community College; SUNY, ESF; and the County Planning Department. With the financial help of the Montezuma VFW,  Cayuga Community Foundation, A-Verdi Containers, Cayuga County Creating Healthy Places Grant, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and Parks and Trails, New York, we've come a long way.

WOW -- what progress! THANKS EVERYONE!

March 2011
Last weekend was one of our  scheduled Fall trail work days in the park. Heavy winds and rain were predicted. A handful of workers came out to help: Mike Riley, Town Councilman Tom Fitzsimmons, Jim Decker, Stan and myself. With the sky threatening to open up any time, we decided to stay close to our cars in case we needed to take shelter quickly. Mike suggested we work on clearing in the Enlarged Erie Canal site on High Street next to the fire house. So off the guys went with chain saws and weed wackers into the canal bed. We ended up with a huge pile of brush, garbage, and stacked wood. It was amazing what a small group can do in a short time. It started raining late morning, but they made great progress in clearing the area. Denny and Dustin from the Highway Department brought the chipper down and cleared the pile of brush on Monday. We put a "free" sign on the stacked wood, which someone claimed this week.

April 2011
The "before" and "after" photos show how much this site has changed in a year and a half. Gone are the two old trailers, old shed, and piles of junk, since the Town Board voted to buy this historic site. Now we have a nearly completed mural, kiosk, memorial marker for the Byron Lapp Memorial Trail, and a historic roadside marker that honors this very important historic site in our community.

March 2011

Clean Sweep 2011

Our next scheduled Fall Trail Work Date:
Saturday, October 13th, starting at 9 AM 
at this High Street Trailhead near the firehouse.

August 2012

September 2012

September 8, 2012

September 2012

September 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Assemblyman Oaks Visits Montezuma

NYS Assemblyman Robert Oaks visited the Montezuma Heritage Park for a walk on the Richmond Aqueduct Trail yesterday. He recently took on Montezuma, Aurelius and Sennett from Cayuga County as part of the state redistricting.

Mike Riley, Canal Historian and Trail Boss for the Heritage Park, explained the importance of the historic sites in Montezuma that tell the dynamic story of the evolution of the New York State Canal System.

Along for the walk were  Park Design Committee members Paul Baker, Dan Randolph, and Stan Longyear, Town Board member, Tom Fitzsimmons, the Assemblyman's  Communications Coordinator, Louise Hoffman Broach, and myself.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Fifty years after the Viet Nam War started, three former Montezuma Ex-Marines who served in the war.  Rich Vanderwalker,  now living in Texas, Dan Randolph and Stan Longyear work together to install the posts for the park's new kiosks. For these guys, service work has gone on to help out their communities. Denny and Dustin, highway department employees, worked with them to install the posts at the two trailhead entrances at High Street and Chapman Road yesterday.


The kiosks are being funded by the Cayuga County Creating Healthy Places program.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tour explores canal's relationship with town

Mike Riley explains how the Richmond Aqueduct carried the Erie Canal waters over the Seneca River at the August 11th Canal Splash Tour in Montezuma

Tour explores canal's relationship with town

Thanks to Mike Riley for leading another successful Canal Splash event and to everyone that came out for the tour!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Exchange Hotel at the  junction of the Erie and Cayuga-Seneca Canals is subject of a new mural in Montezuma being painted by Muralist Dawn Jordan.

The Town of Montezuma will soon receive the gift of a historic mural that will highlight the Town’s historic canal heritage. The Montezuma Historical Society has initiated the project on behalf of the Town for a new mural, and is being helped with a donation from A-Verdi Storage Containers and a grant from the Cayuga Community Foundation. A-Verdi is an owned & operated business in Montezuma for over 30 years and is the premier provider of Storage & office solutions throughout New York State. The Cayuga Community Foundation is a component fund of the Central New York Community Foundation that assists non-profit organizations with vital programs in education, health, social services, the arts, civic,  environmental concerns, and the preservation of historic resources in Cayuga County.

Mark DeCracker of Lyons, and creator of Mural Mania encouraged Montezuma to join with other communities along the Erie Canal to share the visual story of New York State Erie Canal history.  Today it is hard to visualize what Montezuma looked like during the early Erie Canal era.  MHS is providing the town with the mural to reconnect with its sense of heritage and place, and to share its important story with others. The original Erie Canal that joined with the Cayuga/Seneca Canal in 1828, and flowed through Montezuma have long been filled in. Gone are many the businesses that lined the canal streets. Since almost all of the original buildings with businesses that served the canal and community no longer exist, there wasn’t even a place to paint the mural. When Joe Verdi, owner of A-Verdi Containers learned of the dilemma, he generously donated a 8’ x 20 ‘ container to paint the mural on. 

Dawn painting the mural under her homemade awning.
Dawn Jordan, muralist, is painting the mural in A-Verdi’s parking lot on Route 31. Dawn, a talented artist has painted several local Erie Canal murals including Port Byron, Weedsport, Jordan and Lyons depicting Erie Canal history.  To help fund the project, the historical society has held several fundraisers.  The mural is based on a historic photo of the Erie Canal, the Cayuga/Seneca Canal, the crossover bridge, and the Exchange Hotel that burned in 1918. Comfort Tyler, early settler and visionary, who built of one of the first boats on the Erie Canal named for its namesake, “The Montezuma,” will be painted into the picture.  The mural’s permanent location will be at the site where the Exchange was built in the 1830's located at the trailhead entrance of the Montezuma Heritage Park on High Street.  Future plans include the mural becoming part of a replica boat fa├žade of “The Montezuma.”

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Photo of the Richmond Aqueduct by Dennis Stierer, Lockport, NY
How we as small communities act—or fail to act— in the coming years will determine if we save our heritage, and realize the untapped economic opportunities our heritage and the sites it represents serves our communities. Saving Our Vanishing Heritage is a critical call to action to alert our communities that we need to focus precious investment of time, creativity, and funds on heritage conservation, a strategy that has proven to be one of the most effective and targeted ways to help communities thrive. 

If heritage defines our culture and tells us who we are, why is it so often ignored in our communities or considered of little importance? Why is it that our historic sites and landmarks that represent our common past are given no significant attention, investment or interest when it comes to preservation? Why is it not being seen as an opportunity to satisfy an emotional need that would give us a connection to the place we live and the potential to enhance our lives. Wouldn’t it follow that when our lives are enhanced our community would appear less depressed and experienced as a healthier and more stable place to live. 

Imagine if the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore —the very symbols of the American nation—were damaged and destroyed through neglect or mismanagement. Loss and destruction is the status quo for many of our most significant national treasures that helped form our country are being ignored in our smaller rural communities, but no less significant. Over time our cultural and historic sites have been damaged and ignored of their importance. Much of this loss can be controlled through better planning, community involvement, and management, but these are often missing in smaller communities where the need is the greatest. Often we see our small towns and villages as insignificant with no ability to do anything about it blaming it on lack of manpower and money so we lapse into a powerless, conditioned pattern of thought that it’s useless to even try.  What we are giving up on is our duty and responsibility and the power we have to preserve our heritage for future generations. We are giving up on our greatest asset – our human potential to make a difference and serve our communities with our inherited gifts and abilities. We need to wake up to these abilities and find creative ways to come together on how to accomplish this. We need to let our elected officials know that we care and that we are here to use our skills and creative ideas to support and lend a hand to preserve what is important to us.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Spare Seat Picnic at the Richmond Aqueduct, May 5, 2012

Clouds gave way to warm sunshine as our  UK visitors rowed into the park arriving from their stay over in Lyons, NY. We enjoyed talking with them over a relaxing picnic lunch on the Richmond Aqueduct.  I couldn't help but contrast the day to an earlier picnic at this historic location. Built in 1854, the aqueduct had 31 arches. Today there are seven remaining arches left after the Erie Canal was rerouted and dredged out in the Seneca River in 1917. You might also notice our picnic was a bit more informal.

Their journey started on the Erie Canal in Buffalo and will end traveling down the Hudson River to New York City.  Traveling the Erie Canal must seem like a kiddie pool to both Richard Harpham and Glenn Charles who have kayaked in some amazing challenging waters.

The event's main sponsor was I Love New York, and Cayuga County's tourism executive director Meg Vanek helped me to coordinate the day's event.  Lori Solomon-Duell, the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor's director of tourism helped to organize it,  and is traveling to each community along the way to keep the trip on schedule and running smoothly. The event is bringing awareness to many upstate communities along the Erie Canal that are proud of our heritage, and to give visitors a chance to experience the rich natural and historic resources in our canal communities.

Called the Spare Seat Expedition, they are being accompanied on part of their journey in one of the spare seats by smiling Rosie Fuller who is an editor with UK’s Adventure Travel Magazine.  Others have been invited to join them for a ride along the route. Mark DeCracker traveled the 22-mile ride from Lyons to Montezuma. Taking the next twelve-mile stretch was Mike Riley, Trail boss for the Montezuma Heritage Park and canal historian took the spare seat to Weedsport.  (Although I will say, he was somewhat reluctant, but by the time he got to Weedsport he was very glad he went along for the ride.) From there Jeanne Baker opened the Old Brutus Historical Museum to visit the canal displays and exhibits there. They dined at Devaney's in Weedsport before heading to Seneca Falls for the rest of the weekend. Then it's back on the canal at Weedsport to continue their journey. You can follow the rest of their trip on their blog at: Spare Seat Blog

Thank you to everyone who helped to make it possible, those who came out to welcome our guests, and to Richard and Glenn for sharing this amazing journey with us. They told us they would be back again, this time cycling the Canalway Trail. We look forward to their return.

Mark your calendar to visit two National Historic Register sites at our next event on August 11, 2012, starting at 9:00 AM in Montezuma. Mike Riley will be back on land (Yes, he survived it!) to guide us with his popular Cayuga County canal site tour, "Following the Flow; A Tale of Two Erie Canals." . As Trail Boss for the Montezuma Heritage Park, Mike knows first hand plans for the development the park, and will lead a 1.6 mile walking tour sharing highlights of historic canal sites and new trails now open in the park. Mike will also meet anyone that wants to drive on to Port Byron to visit the Erie House with updates on the Canal Society's Erie Canal Heritage Park at the site of Lock 52. The Old Brutus Historical Society Museum will be open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM with displays of canal history. For more information on the tour, details on the sites and photos, visit our blog at  Cayuga County Canals Tour

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The Canal Clean Sweep was another huge success this year in the Montezuma Heritage Park thanks to some wonderful volunteers that came out on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 29.  This year's two events helped to ready the park for the arrival of visitors this week traveling from Buffalo across state on the Erie Canal and then down the Hudson River to New York City.  Richard Harpham and Glenn Charles are two experienced adventurers who have covered over 19,500 human powered miles between them by kayak, canoe and bike and have a passion for inspiring young people and communities through their challenges. They will be sharing their experiences by giving talks about their adventures and documenting life and interviewing people they meet on their travels. They started their adventure this morning in Buffalo (May 1, 2012), and are expected to stop in Montezuma for lunch at the Richmond Aqueduct on Saturday, May 5th.  You can follow them on their adventure through their blog:

Chef Paul Baker removes the trash cans to reveal two turkeys for lunch.

The April 21 event,  one of the more cold and rainy spring days, didn't dampen the enthusiasm for getting the job done. Volunteers pitched in to accomplish two major goals set by the Design Committee for the day. Paul Baker, our Master Chef, cooked Trash Can Turkey for lunch while workers set out for trail work.  Maybe it was the smell roasting turkey that led our work teams to finish their jobs quickly.

Bench placed at the entrance to the Lock 62 Trail
One crew worked on installing four new benches (water to set the cement provided by Mother Nature) were placed along the Byron Lapp Memorial Trail and the Aqueduct Trail.  Extensive brush clearing work was done to reveal the well-intact Lock 11 remains on the Cayuga Seneca Canal.

Brush clearing at Lock 11 on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal

Volunteers created a clear view on the west side of Lock 11 on the C & S Canal

By noon the work was done, and we abandoned the idea of a trailgate lunch to head for dryer and warmer ground at the town hall.

Sunny skies on Sunday, April 29 greeted volunteer Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Boy Scouts with their leaders and parents from Montezuma, Port Byron and Bloomfield to help in the park for this year's second Clean Sweep event. Before getting started a Bike Rodeo was held for youth from the area teaching hands-on bike safety and were given brand new helmets conducted by Joe Mushock and his volunteers for the Cayuga County Governor's Traffic Safety program.

Amy Barra, Cornell Cooperative Extension Environmental Educator gives us a lesson on how the garlic mustard plant is a very invasive specie that spreads, and is damaging the ecosystem. It's roots have toxins that are harmful to other more beneficial plants. It didn't take much convincing for the youth to start scouting out the plant that Amy helped them identify, and pulling it up by its root on the Aqueduct Trail on our way back to the parking lot.  Their enthusiasm for wanting to help is so encouraging for the future of our Mother Earth. The adult leaders and parents are to be commended for teaching them the importance of protecting our natural resources. Every root pulled helped to stop further invasion.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Volunteers Needed for a Spring Clean Sweep in the Park

In recognition of Earth Day, the Town of Montezuma is teaming up with the New York's Clean Sweep program and the Let's G.O.!(Get Outside). The 7th Annual Clean Sweep program is sponsored by Parks and Trails, New York, the NYS Canal Corporation and Environmental Facilities Corporation to encourage community groups and municipalities to participate doing some  “spring cleaning”  along the Canal System and the Canalway Trail.  The 2nd Annual Let's G.O.! is sponsored by the Children and Nature Network with a huge and inspiring push to get all people outside, and to encourage service projects to benefit the natural world as a part of the process.

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 9 AM-4 PM volunteers are invited to join in helping in several projects planned for the day. This is not just a call to action, it is a call for fun! Think of it as a party invitation in the Montezuma Heritage Park where all the green natural resources would look so much better cleaned up.  A new trail is now being cleared that will give us access to a new location on the original Erie Canal known as Clinton's Ditch, and the Cayuga and Seneca Canal Lock 11. Learn how this site was one of the most important sites on the Erie Canal that opened navigation up to the Finger Lakes and beyond. 

We will meet at the Chapman Road trailhead entrance of the park just south of the Highway Town Barn at 9 AM.  What will the Montezuma Historical Society be doing to help with this Spring Cleaning event?  Why, hosting a Trailgating Trash Can Turkey Lunch, of course, with all fixin's. What could be more fun?  Dress weather appropriately and bring work gloves.

On Sunday, April 29th from 1-3 PM the Girl Scouts will host another Cleaning Party in the park. Julie Smith, Girl Scout leader, has invited other youth groups of the area to join in the clean up as part of their GO GREEN program.  Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County is helping with this event, and the Cayuga County National Bike Safety program will be offering bicycle safety tips for youth, providing water bottles and helmets.

Our children of today are suffering (and yes, us adults, too) from Nature Deficient-Disorder. Kids ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day, 7 days a week, plugged into computers, TV, video games, music, cells phones, etc. according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Study.  By caring for the park we will promote a strong connection with the outdoors our youth is missing today.  Being able to offer programs like these will lead to a healthier, safer community, greater support and protection of our natural landscapes, and enhancing our community's heritage for this generation and those yet to come.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


New NYS Historic Site sign along Route 90 near Erie Street

Signs of Spring are early this year and not only have the birds been busy, but we have some new great projects underway at the Montezuma Heritage Park. Two new signs went up this week by the NYS to direct visitors from Routes 31 and 90 to the historic canal sites in the park.

NYS Historic Site sign on Route 31 near High Street

Roof Sections for two new kiosks

Saws have been a-buzzin' at the highway garage where volunteer Design Committee members Dan Randolph and Stan Longyear have been busy building the roof sections for two kiosks to be located at the site of the High Street trailhead of the Byron Lapp Memorial Trail and the Chapman Road trailhead at the Aqueduct Trail.

Once the roof sections were finished, they started  building four new benches for the Byron Lapp Memorial and Aqueduct Trails. Plans are for volunteers to install the new benches on Saturday, April 21 during the Canal Clean Sweep event scheduled to clean up and work on the trails in the park. Both the benches and kiosks were designed by Town Supervisor John Malenick.

Workshop set up at Town Highway Garage
The next project ready to begin are the trail markers. At our Design Committee meeting this week we gave each trail a name, number and color for the signs to go on the markers.  Maps will be created for the kiosks to easily identify the trail locations and their distances.

Funding for this project was made possible by the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play Grant (funded by the New York State Department of Health).  Thanks to our volunteers NYS, and CHP for making this happen!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


At the February 23rd Heritage Park Committee meeting, Mike Riley accepted the volunteer position as Trail Boss for the park project. When it comes to natural resources, trails and canal history, I can think of no one better qualified than Mike for the job. I'm so grateful he accepted it on top of all the other many activities he is involved in.

Mike Riley describes the workings of the Richmond Aqueduct 
Mike's by-day "real" job is foreman at Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation. His overall experience working to enhance and protect natural resources will be a valuable asset to the environmentally sensitive areas in the park. His knowledge of canal history is responsible for helping me to learn and understand the different stages and mechanics of canal building.  Through his study, he's uncovered little known facts and stories that contribute to Montezuma's unique part of Erie and Cayuga-Seneca Canal history.  Ten years ago, he wrote a book, "Twelve and a Half Miles: The Erie Canal in Cayuga County,"  and recently posted a web edition, free of charge on the Cayuga County Canals website, he helped to create with full color photos and maps.

He serves as a director with the West Onondaga-Cayuga Regional Trail Group of the Canalway Association. The Association is helping communities plan, develop and manage trail segments of the  524-mile continuous trail along New York's historic canals. He serves as a director with the Canal Society of New York, a non-profit educational organization that brings together canal enthusiasts from across the state. The Erie Canal Camillus Park has also benefited from his expertise on many projects, as well as conducting boat tours for them.  In his hometown, he serves as president of the Lock 52 Historical Society of Port Byron, Town of Mentz Planning Board member, and Town Historian. Here in Montezuma, the Town has benefited from his leading our yearly historic walking tours that has now expanded as part the Canal Splash Following The Flow Driving and Walking Tour and writes for the Cayuga County Canal Tours blog.  He attends monthly meetings of the Park Design Committee and gives valuable input.  

Mike and his wife Mary, along with their son, Shane, and daughter Kate, have enjoyed many camping trips that usually involve visiting a canal site. He is always learning more about trails and canal history that he is willing to share.  There's a saying, "If you want to get something done, just ask a busy person."  Thankfully, Mike's the man for this job!


Saturday, February 18, 2012


There's been been plenty of activity in Montezuma this winter to help raise some money for the park and develop a new trail that uncovers unseen parts of the original Clinton's Ditch. The work done  cleared the way for public access to the Cayuga-Seneca Lock 11 site now on the west side (towpath side) of the C&S only accessible from private land before. Much thanks is given to Bill Breen for the suggestion to raise money through logging some of the prime walnut trees we have in the area. The logging project was contracted by the town with William Haessner Logging who as part of the contract agreed to help create a trail exposing the part of Clinton's Ditch that joined into the C&S Canal here in Montezuma. Working with Bill, was Forester Doug Brico, who marked trees necessary for removal due to the state of maturity, disease or aspect making it undesirable as a park type tree.

On January 6, 2012, Bill Haessner drops the first tree and forges through the area east of Chapman Road and the drydock area. This begins opening up a new trail along Clinton's Ditch built here 1819.
The horse power of Bill's skidder is a sharp contrast to the axes, horses and stump pullers that would have been used to clear the land for the canal originally.
On a walk on January 10, 2012, Clinton's Ditch is clearly seen from  the new trail opened up.

On January 21, 2012 my husband, Stan and I walked the newly cleared trail all the way to the C&S Canal and Lock 11. Clinton's Ditch is to the right of the trail.

C&S Lock 11 is now clearly visible from the west side of the newly formed trail.  The logging project gave public access to the site only before seen with permission through private owner's land.
The work on the enlarged Erie made it necessary to construct a lock at the junction of the C&S and the Erie in Montezuma. During the Clinton’s Ditch era both canals were at the same elevation and the Cayuga merely intersected with the Erie. When the Erie was raised to cross the Seneca River on an aqueduct, it was three feet higher then the C&S. The new lock, C&S Lock 11, was built just to the south of this junction, southwest of the present-day firehouse location. Cayuga-Seneca Lock 11 was put in use in 1853 and its remains are well intact today.

This early photo is near the site of the junction of the Erie and C&S Canals and Lock 11.    

By the end of January. Bill had finished the project, and we now can look forward to further develop the trail this Spring.

Friday, January 20, 2012


The lyrics to Justin Moore's song, Small Town USA go:

     "A lot of people called it prison when I was growin' up
          But these are my roots and that is what I love
               'Cause everybody knows me and I know them
                    And I believe that's the way we're supposed to live
                         I wouldn't trade one single day in small town USA."

There's a lot to be said for growing up in a small town that I didn't so much appreciate when I was younger. Like Justin's song, my roots go deep here, and the things I used to take for granted are extremely important to me today. It seems like there was more of a sense of belonging and real connection that is slipping away.  Do we need to raise our vision higher to our physical environment to empower us to promote a more prosperous and enduring way of life?  How do we promote collaboration between community members to tackle the problems and opportunities in small towns today such as Montezuma? We need to wake up to the fact that its up to us to be more pro-active. With industrialization of agriculture, industrialized delivery systems and the globalization of our economy, our small towns are being by-passed and extremely challenged to endure. 

Today's challenges require us to find the possible solutions that are unique to a place and its people.  We must work towards a community that assures each citizen may hope to prosper and benefit from an inspired community life. We need to raise the bar on what we expect for our community and come together to create a stable, safe and healthy town that reveals our unique heritage and diverse values. One of the greatest challenges that our rural community faces today is the need to find ways for economic stability, growth and achieve a high quality of life.  Unfortunately, there are limited resources, with limited assistance and access to information or the means for implementation.
We need to focus on the appreciation for the character of a people and its place. I'm looking forward to hiring an architect firm through the EPF grant in the next few weeks that will offer creative and practical skills towards improving the environments in which we live, work and meet. It is my hope that we will begin coming together to identify our community's needs. We will then begin addressing how they might be accommodated with existing rich natural and historic resources of our region, so we can begin to organize our community towards a shared vision. Working with local leadership and partners, it is possible to protect our small home town legacy from fading away.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 -- Happy New Year!

Looking forward to all we can do to bring in the new year, and with it a new "sense of place" to live and support one another.