As the outgoing chair of the Cumberland Region Tomorrow board, I wanted to provide a quick review of our work in what has been a challenging year.
To say that 2020 was a difficult year for all of us is certainly an understatement. The pandemic took us from plans to add contract staff and ramp up our social media presence to scrambling for an effective way to continue our annual Power of Ten regional summit.
The move to a virtual platform went extremely well and brought an inspiring keynote by urban planning expert Brent Toderian. Brent provided an array of examples of great places, addressed the impact of the pandemic on planning, transportation and development and challenged us to (make the Nashville region an even better place to live and work. A panel discussion of local mayors and planners led by Gail Williams focused on the issues around great placemaking and their hopes for their own communities and our region. (Watch the summit)
The virtual format prompted us to look at creative ways to present our usual breakout sessions and led to the launch of the “Power of Ten Forum” series. CRT board members led four informative discussions with local experts around Main Street economies, urban design and development, technology and transportation, and parks and open space.
In the end, the roadblock of COVID 19 led us to a better route. Despite not being able to gather in person, we were able to expand our reach and engage new people in our conversations.
We will be continuing the conversation in 2021, using the new tools and avenues that 2020 brought to our door. A new slate of forums will be coming soon and the (hopefully!) in–person 2021 Power of Ten has been set for September 28. We will focus on increasing our reach through newsletter and website as well as social media platforms.
On behalf of the board and our partners at GNRC, we are deeply appreciative of everyone who participated in our programs and provided financial support to sustain us through this difficult period. We hope that you will continue to be a part of the conversation and invite others to join in.
As always, CRT exists to provide a place to learn and discuss the challenges that come with exciting growth and development in middle Tennessee. Now more than ever, the things that make this region a place we treasure need to be identified and preserved. We are connecting our region for a better tomorrow. It has been my honor and privilege to work with our board for the last two years and I am excited to see where we go from here.