Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Defending Youngstown from the Ground Up

If you’ve followed the national press stories about Youngstown over the past year, then you’ve already heard some of what this week’s guest has to say. Phil Kidd has become a sort of unofficial spokesperson for the city, talking about Youngstown 2010, the revitalization of downtown, the changing image of this community. On Lincoln Avenue this week, he talks about Defend Youngstown, the Wick Park Revitalization Project, and his plans for his new job as Director of Downtown Events for the City of Youngstown.

One of the things that has impressed me about Phil is his ability to turn ideas into action. I’m excited about all the thoughtful conversation that has developed out of the “thinkers and drinkers” gatherings, but I’m also always a little skeptical about the value of talk. And yet I know from my own experience how easy it is to comment on issues and how much harder it is to go out and do something. But Phil has a philosophy about how to make things happen. He believes that getting people involved means creating opportunities for them to speak and act, and those who have the resources and power to make things happen need to listen to what others want, not just forge ahead on their own. He understands, too, that community engagement is not only a good way to get things done but also a way to transform the community by building relationships and changing attitudes. He also knows how to organize a project, a skill he says he learned in the military.

Phil Kidd is in an interesting and challenging position at this point: he has begun to put his ideas into action, and over the next few years, we will all get to see the results unfold. He’s taking on very public projects, and because he’s advocated a different approach to running a city office and organizing a community project, people are watching. I’m looking forward to seeing him succeed.

1 comment:

Debra Weaver said...

Great show tonight! Thanks!