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Prepare for the future - Our view: It’s good to see young people involved

The Glencoe Downtown Revitalization Committee held its first meeting last week. It was an organizational get-together, a chance for participants to match names and faces and people offer a preliminary idea of why they are participating in the process. The good news is that among the attendees were a half-dozen high school students, young people showing an interest in the future of their community.
This, we dare say, is the best news we’ve heard out of city hall in sometime.
The downtown revitalization plan will shape the future of downtown Glencoe for many years to come. Who better to help shape that future than the people who will hopefully be around to see the plan come to fruition. We credit the city for including high-schoolers on the committee. It’s refreshing to see young people not only take an interest in the future of their community, but also taking the time to shape the future. Glencoe’s young people should be involved. The elders will be gone before they know it. Are our young adults willing to accept what has been left behind for them?
The downtown Glencoe we know today was shaped by the movers and shakers of previous generations. The adults of today laid the framework for the downtown area at a time when children were seen and not always heard or listened to. Like some of their elders, the young people of today recognize the benefits of growth. Today’s young people likely have a different vision. They might want to see colorful street crossings or a farmer’s market that is both valued and located in an accessible corner.
They might want to see a more colorful, walkable downtown, a place where people want to congregate on a weekend evening, listen to a band while enjoying dinner on a patio amongst friends. They might want to see more green space, fountains and bike lanes, more people walking between venues and creating vibrancy in an area that sometimes feels as if it shuts down when the sun begins to set or the workweek comes to an end. They likely want a downtown area with the attractions that will keep people in Glencoe rather than making a trip to Hutchinson or Waconia their primary options.
Young people may want to see more pop-up shops, the kind of businesses open for a predetermined amount of time before another enterprise takes over. They might want to see vacant space in downtown dedicated to apartments that don’t cost a house payment to actually rent. They might want to see a downtown area where a person can walk along a sidewalk without putting up with truck traffic looking for the shortest route to Highway 212 or Highway 22. Hopefully, Glencoe is the kind of town they will want to return to when its time to raise their children.
There is no shortage of insight and opinions on the state of downtown Glencoe from elders. The experiences and lessons from those who have faced challenges will forever be worthwhile. They understand process. They understand history.
It is time for two generations to come together, to create a plan for downtown that will work for today and can lead the downtown area through an evolution into the years to come.
A wise man once said, “you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” Kudos to Glencoe’s young people taking the time to show they care about the future of their community and want to have a say in what is left behind for them.

-jm