What are Community Conversations?
Community Conversations is a three times a year meeting for residents and friends of Harrisville to discuss and give feedback on projects that will contribute to the town’s health, viability and quality of life. It is sponsored by the town Planning Board, with initial financial support to cover supper expenses from the Harrisville Community Fund. Sponsors hope for participation of a cross-section of residents, especially individuals in the 20 – 45 year old range who may have a new generational perspective on needs.
The need for ongoing town conversations about its future emerged from the town’s two Future Search meetings (in 1997 and 2011) and from Harrisville’s most recent Master Plan, approved in 2014. The Master Plan is a document developed every 10-15 years by the Planning Board, which identifies the town’s most pressing development needs and priorities for the next 10-20 years. The Master Plan is built with community input and seeks to answer the question: What does our town need to accomplish so that its residents to have a healthy, viable future?
Master Plan projects address those priorities that entail land use and zoning improvements. Other important town priorities were identified at our first May 2016 Community Conversation. Noted below are projects that are currently being taken up by various groups:
Master Plan Projects:
- Housing/zoning improvements and access
- Economic Development: planning for greater Broadband internet capacity
- Walkability-Transportation: e.g., planning for trails, walkways, cross-walks, bike paths
- Regional Cooperation possibilities: sharing municipal resources with other towns
Other Town Improvement Projects:
- Local gym/wellness center at the Mill
- Local pub
- Community Activities (educational, recreational and/or cultural events)
Each Community Conversations meeting starts with supper at 6 pm, which is followed by 2 hours of presentation and small group discussion of the projects noted above.