Angela Shepherd on Greenfield

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In recent months lots has been said about the future of Greenfield, both in this blog and on Facebook. The Times Gazette has also ran a number of articles about events and programs underway that hope to improve the quality of life in the community. In that vein Times Gazette reporter and McClain graduate, Angela Shepherd, has penned an editorial column that we all need to read:

A former Greenfieldian and McClain grad has in recent months devoted his time and efforts to trying to envision a better Greenfield and to get the seemingly skeptical masses involved in that vision, too.

Once upon a time, Greenfield was thriving. Various shops, stores, services, even factories, were not in short supply offering goods, services, and jobs.

But, times have changed. The little man has been pinched out by big business, and that is true for every place.

But that doesn’t mean that Greenfield has to remain on the edge of death.

What we need, perhaps, is vision, faith, hope, some elbow grease and a whole lot of not giving up.

Doug Karnes, who now is an architect in Kentucky, comes back to Greenfield twice a month and makes himself available to anyone interested in offering their two cents on how to breath some life into Greenfield.

Karnes has taken an inventory of all manner of places around the village, constructed maps, laid out ideas, designed logos. He’s held one public meeting on the matter and plans to hold two more, all with a specific theme to help those who attend follow with and hopefully join in on the vision for the village.

Karnes said he plans to be presenting 25 fully-designed ideas during July’s Greene Countrie Towne Festival.

In January Karnes visited the Greenfield Rotary Club at their weekly meeting and shared 10 detailed ideas for growth.

I am not an ideas person.

But apparently Karnes is. At one point, he told Rotarians that while he didn’t have a million dollars to get the ball rolling, he had plenty of ideas to share.

And Karnes welcomes any questions and feedback on what he is trying to do, which is breath life into a town that has seen better days.

I watched the presentation. I saw the logos and heard the plans and could envision these things clear as day as Karnes laid them out.

While we need capital, for sure, I think what we need more than anything is enough people to believe that at least a few of these things are very, very possible and could do a lot to make our little town shine.

But, I noticed when I tried to bring some of these ideas up to people later in the day, fired up as I was after the presentation, I was met with skepticism before I even finished my first couple sentences.

Maybe these ideas won’t work.But, maybe they will. Even if one came to fruition that would be a good thing.

The one question Karnes asked that has continued to ring through my brain since that meeting is what does Greenfield have that no other place has?

Plenty, was what I thought to myself.

But Karnes jumped right in reminding every one of us of what is right under our noses all the time.

Some of those highlights, those things that belong only to Greenfield, is Paint Creek on the village’s eastern edge, the village’s proximity to two state parks, and our town’s own particular history which includes C.R. Patterson & Sons Company, which was America’s first African-American automobile manufacturer with the introduction of the Patterson-Greenfield automobile in 1916.

How do we forget this stuff is all here, buried under our discontent? Let’s dig it up, knock off the dirt, and show it off!

While times have changed everywhere, ‘burgs big and small gotta change, too.

I applaud Karnes for his vision, and it is my sincere hope that enough people can join him in it.

Even if you think it’s a futile exercise, dreaming these dreams, do yourself and your town a favor by at least lending Karnes your ear at one of the meetings, maybe even providing a little positive feedback of your own, checking out the Facebook page, daring to dream a little yourself.

And remember, every idea in the history of the world that ever worked had to first be given a chance to work.

Reprinted from the February 12, 2014 edition of the Times Gazette newspaper.

An old saying came to mind while reading about the naysayers Angela encountered so quickly following Doug Karnes’ presentation, “If you’re not a part of the solution get out of the way so we can get to the solution.” You know, that might not be an old saying. Maybe I just made it up! Whichever, if the shoe fits…!

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