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I was invited to attend a work session of the Culver Town Council last night. The work session was the result of the efforts of MCEDC to energize Marshall County communities to plan and prepare for growth. Unfortunately last night’s meeting degenerated into random complaints from various attendees about some Culver boards and commissions with very little positive discussion or resolution. I had invited Jay Bahr, MCEDC‘s new Executive Director, to attend this meeting and was somewhat embarrassed. It wasn’t exactly what I would have liked him to see with his first introduction to Culver’s leaders.
In February, MCEDC held our first County-wide economic development summit with attendees representing all of the communities in Marshall County. As a result of that meeting I had met with several Culver Town Council Members to see what action steps could be taken. My thoughts on this involved encouraging the Town Council to be the pointy head of the spear. In other words, set an agenda for growth and improvement and pass that mandate down to the boards and commissions that serve beneath them. Theoretically, the Town Council is the elected body that represents the people and through them the citizen’s will should be enacted by the appointed boards and commissions. Without a cohesive plan of action to implement, the boards and commissions either proceed on their own agendas or in some cases are rudderless and accomplish no agenda.
There has been some progress. Retention meetings have been held with Elkay and discussions have been had regarding how to make Culver more accessible to business. All positive steps, but ones without a cohesive goal.
The Comprehensive Plan will fill part of this need, but it needs the will of the citizens and their elected officials, the Town Council, to be reflected in that. Even though completion of the Comprehensive Plan is as much as a year away, the Town Council needs to be gearing up towards implementation and as I’ve tried to express to them, the Comprehensive Plan process can’t be an excuse for doing nothing now.
Last night’s meeting showed a lack of respect for the Town Council’s position of authority in the Town. It was a good step towards leadership, but it’s clear that they are going to need to TAKE their leadership back. There will be no shortage of complaints, but complaints don’t fill the leadership void. Culver’s unofficial motto has always been “Change is bad even when it’s change for the better”. The Town Council needs to ignore that and be the instigator of change. Change for the better…
As previously discussed here I attended the Comprehensive Plan Breakout Session for businesses on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Mr. Ralph Winters was also at that meeting and made a statement I thought was somewhat profound. I jotted it down so that I could get it right. “We are not so much a resort community as a community of second homes.” That idea resonated with me… While we do have lots of “rentals”, we do not have any hotel space to speak of. The Cove has mostly gone private, to the point that I don’t remember the last time I saw a conference there. This suggests a different kind of resort community.
The work on the new comprehensive plan has begun and I attended three meetings in this week. On Monday evening there was a Steering Committee meeting with Houseal Lavigne where we were given information regarding doing small group outreach. This was for the Steering Committee to make presentations to groups that are unable to attend the regular community meetings or groups that have special interest. I honestly do not know how effective this will be since everyone on the Steering Committee is already active in the community as well as their individual businesses but it was an interesting exercise. I told the Town Manager, Dave Schoeff, that I would be willing to help with one of these, if approached, but I do see that I would go out looking for groups to give presentations.
In conjunction with and immediately following that meeting was the first community meeting. While participation was less than stellar (only about 25 people were in attendance) there were some consistent themes that came out of the meeting. It did not take long for affordable housing to bubble to the top. Unfortunately affordable housing is a hard one for people to get their arms around and everyone’s definition seems to be somewhat different. Probably the second most discussed issue which was touched on several times was “identity” of Culver, i.e. are we or do we want to be a resort community. (More on that later.)
The Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver (AHS) bought lunch for me and a few other Culver citizens on Tuesday to solicit our opinions. They should know how opinionated I am by now… Lunch was appreciated, but not necessary!
AHS is floating the idea that Culver needs a Visitor’s Center and that this would be a good combination with a new History Museum. An opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I heard most of this presentation once before at the Culver Chamber of Commerce meeting in February. Both times I had to agree that a visitor’s center would be nice, but wondered if our tourist season is long enough to justify it.
We are finishing up a kitchen renovation for a residence on Lake Maxinkuckee. The old kitchen was top of the line when the home was built, but it was looking dated and did not function the way a modern kitchen would. It lacked a working “kitchen triangle”, and it had a wall and galley door closing it off from the dining room. While there was a window over the sink looking west, the dining room had two walls of windows looking west and north.
We obtained options from two kitchen cabinet providers for new cabinets and countertops each suggesting different concepts. The one we chose included removing the door and cutting the wall between the kitchen and dining room to provide a bar top counter. This opened up the kitchen to a tremendous effect. There was an existing marble buffet shelf/sideboard in the dining room on the adjoining wall that we were able to re-purpose as a breakfast bar top. This provided some continuity for the owners and salvaged a unique piece that would have cost hundreds of dollars to duplicate. (Green that saves Green.) We were also fortunate that the wall between the kitchen and dining room was not load bearing, so we were able to remove it with little difficulty.
The original kitchen included a wrap around counter that served as a breakfast table, but its location was between the refrigerator and the sink and stove breaking up the workspace. When someone sat at the table, their chair conflicted with the galley door. This made for an intimate kitchen setting for a couple to have breakfast, but made for a difficult situation when the house was full on a summer weekend.
Aside from pulling the refrigerator back into the workspace, little was done to change the cabinet layout. Existing metal cabinets were replaced with wood cabinets with a finish that complimented the wood floors in the dining room, again pulling the two rooms together. Plastic laminate tops were used as an economical solution, but decorative edges were included to enhance the design.
The original kitchen had white cabinets on white walls. This helped brighten the space and gave it a clean look. The new kitchen is more of an extension of the dining room, so green tones were used in the countertops, walls and tile along with extending the wall color out into the dining room as an accent wall. These colors were chosen to play off the salvaged buffet shelf. These colors along with the wood tones of the cabinets helps to pull the two rooms together. Mike Fox of Talk to Tucker in Indianapolis has been helping us with color schemes and has done a great job of pulling things together.