Think big, start small, but do something.
That's the advice Joe Czajka, a consultant with the research group Pattern for Progress, gave Wednesday to the folks who attended an informal brainstorming session about the revitalization of the Village of Brewster.
The Newburgh-based non-profit aims to promote growth and vitality in the area. The Village contract calls for the organization to study several components of Village life: "adaptive reuse" of Garden Street School, community development, neighborhood blight and transit-oriented development. Researchers will use Wednesday's conversations when producing future reports, said Czajka, who serves as vice president of research and policy.
More than 25 people—from business and property owners to elected officials to residents—were present for the discussion. It lasted about two hours, during which time Czajka and his colleague, consultant Barbara "Charlie" Murphy, asked the group to participate in a number of exercises.
"We want you to start dreaming out loud tonight," Murphy said near the start of the session.
Pattern's goal, she told Patch, is to come up with an action plan and a related implementation program for Village revitalization, which is an "incremental process." She and Czajka used nearby examples, including the revivals of places like Beacon and Cold Spring over the years, to remind attendees that change doesn't happen overnight.
The first task Czajka and Murphy put before the group was this:
Describe the Village of Brewster in a single word.
Creative, divided, historic, unfriendly and underestimated were just some of the responses.
What's the first word that comes to your mind when you think of Brewster? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and don't forget to stay with Patch for more on this story. Updates will follow.