Sometimes, I get really, REALLY lucky. I get an interview subject on just the right day. There are factors to this: The subject is prepared, comfortable, and knows what they want to say. That all happened, Monday.
I have wanted to interview Frank Starkey since I met him at his grand opening party for People Places, LLC, downtown. We had a fascinating informal discussion around a table that included a successful trades company owner, an executive of an urban development group, Mr. Starkey, a very smart local musician, and myself. It was this discussion that set something working, in me. I had had recent talks with Dell DeChant and Travis Morehead, and I found an unlikely kinship in philosophy with Frank Starkey. Now, I grew up in Florida. I have seen all the malfeasance and thoughtless greed ‘development’ has brought us. Neighborhoods that now have dying roads, unaddressed illegal organic fill problems, crumbling infrastructure, and sometimes hundreds of homes that were not completed to code. I am naturally suspicious of all land developers. I’d like to say that’s an unreasonable suspicion…But it isn’t.
So, there I was…Listening intently to a real estate developer. And he made SENSE. He was talking about things that I think are important, and sharing my view on what would make our urban lives better. It was a pretty special moment, and I left shaking my head, and dying for an interview.
Here’s the thing: Frank Starkey grew up here. He genuinely cares about West Pasco County. Like many of us, he has left, and come back. He brings with him new (to us, anyway) ideas about what urban means.
I really enjoyed the chance to ask him about urban design generally, and the specific problems or challenges faced by New Port Richey. I am anxious to find out more, and he provided links for me to share with you, so can learn, as well. Frank went out of his way, tonight and last Monday night, to remind us: WE are the agents of change. WE are the power in this community…And the only reason things are not changing faster is because we are not challenging our local leaders to do it.
A LOT OF LINKS ARE COMING AT YOU! Be sure and click around to find out more about this topic. GREEN TEXT EQUALS WEBLINKS!
This is the place to begin…Frank and his company are going to be doing more lectures and events to support the ideas that could help New Port Richey become an even BETTER place to live. “Like” the page, and you’ll get notifications when there is new content!
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) helps create vibrant and walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, shop, and get around. People want to live in well-designed places that are unique and authentic. CNU’s mission is to help build those places.
Recommended reading for those who want to take action to change and improve their own urban environment.
Citizen-based, small-scale efforts can lead to bigger changes in the built environment, according to a new report.
Little Free Libraries are ALREADY part of New Port Richey! There are two, here in town.
Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbors.
Rates the walkability of any neighborhood on a scale of 1-100. Here is a link to the walk score for downtown New Port Richey, starting at People Place on Main!
The mission of Strong Towns is to support a model of development that allows America’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient.
Please read this amazing article “3 Steps To Make Your Hometown More Lovable”
It sincerely brought a tear to my eye. THIS is what our communities…Holiday, Elfers, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson…ALL of our communities need this kind of love.
Friends, we can make our city, and all of our surrounding neighborhoods and communities, better places to live, work, and raise kids. We just have to do it. We just have to do it.