Thursday, June 28, 2007

A sustainability plan for Ester

Since, obviously, not much in the way of realistic or timely change is going to come from the feds on sensible approaches to global warming or sustainability, individuals and cities are having to do it themselves. As New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "If we don't act now, when?"

Ester's a village on the outskirts of a town, and we're growing. Seems to me that we should be planning ahead for what we want our village to be five, ten, twenty years down the line. If not, we're likely to be plagued with box stores and strip malls like Wasilla. The Gold Hill area (a.k.a., the Ester Industrial Zone, formerly known as Berry) is already a potential spot for this sort of crappy development.

So what would a sustainable Ester look like?

Well, here's what I'd like to see:

-- walkable neighborhood centers (we've got the Village Square, the park, Gold Hill, and Calypso right now) where people congregate and where there are centers of activity. Our current centers are a little far from each other (except the park and the square for walking from one to the other, but they serve as centers for their immediate areas

-- more green building and alternative energy use in structures (the library will incorporate some of this, but businesses and residents could start putting up solar panels, insulating, etc.). This is something I still want to try with the Republic, although going solar is pricey up front.

-- more small, locally-oriented businesses: a local grocery store would be nice, or a hardware place, or a general store. The trip into town adds miles, pollution, wear and tear, and a time cost to our day.

-- more local services: a school out here or even in Cripple Creek would save the kids a whole bunch of time that's now spent sitting on a bus. A local medical or health clinic, a laundromat, or a veterinarian would be good, too. (Jean Battig's clinic on Chena Ridge is pretty close, but closer would be better.) What about a micro-credit union? local constructed wetlands to take care of sewage or runoff?

-- another small farm or two, or a dairy, or a mill, or other agricultural institutions

-- local currency?

A lot of businesses, to be viable, depend on a certain minimum number of customers. What I wonder is how villages and small towns used to be able to do this, when they can't now. What happened? A lot of these ideas above are just thrown out, without a lot of investigation into them, but I think they merit a little discussion.

No comments: