Let’s aim to develop city’s neighborhoods
Recent improvements in Kokomo have been newsworthy, and our local governments and nonprofits seem to be aiming for a positive future for our community. However, as indicated by the recent article by Scott Smith (May 21), there seems to be much more attention to building housing than building neighborhoods and a sense of community within Kokomo. I think people of all ages would be drawn to Kokomo if more attention would be given to developing our residential neighborhoods.
I am quite aware of the variety of neighborhoods in this city. The housing, the people, the restaurants and resources in each segment of Kokomo are varied and interesting. Is it time to give each and every neighborhood some redevelopment attention? Developers often think of where to put new housing, and whether it will be profitable. But people who choose a place to live think more broadly in terms of the neighborhood they live in. I think the time is right to build up the neighborhoods throughout Kokomo.
And, as we do this, we can attend to all generations, building what Phil Stafford calls “a community for a lifetime.” Yes, we have new apartment buildings for senior citizens and for college students. Beyond the buildings, there are neighborhoods. Whether downtown or in the outlying neighborhoods, planning neighborhood development that works for all age groups would be a win-win scenario. What would it take to create the kind of neighborhood that serves people of all ages? I like Phil Stafford’s model, which is being implemented in three communities around Indiana (Valparaiso, Huntington and Linton). These are the elements: neighborliness; an environment for growth, learning and autonomy; a positive image of the environment; diverse housing options; and a community that is supportive of all ages.