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Maps of desirable county emerging

Participants in Thursday’s Bright Ideas meeting gather around a map of the south end of Fayette County and discuss one group’s ideas for howthe area could be enhanced. From left are Cynthia Hunt, Rod Denman, Marsha Eldridge and Mary-Lou Branson.

News-Examiner

Maps of what Fayette County might include in terms of development began emerging at the second Bright Ideas meeting Thursday evening.

About 20 people attended the meeting in First Presbyterian Church. Convener Linda Fitzgerald asked those attending to sit at tables based on where they live in the county: the north half or the south half. Then, she asked them to envision the kinds of things that half of the county might need in order to be a 21st century community with small town charm.

“We’re pretty good at small town charm but not so good at 21st century,” Fitzgerald, the organizer of a group called Ordinary Folks of Fayette County, said.

She reminded the group that data shared during the first Bright Ideas meeting several weeks ago showed that 7,000 people leave the county every day to go to work, and only 2,000 commute into the county for work. She encouraged the groups to think about what could attract more jobs to the county.

Also, she pointed out, 45 percent of the local population is age 50-plus, so the county should be thinking about how to attract and keep younger residents.

People attending the meeting identified many resources that can be developed. For instance, groups said that the new River’s Edge Park being built on Connersville’s south side would provide opportunities for restaurants and lodging facilities to be located close by.

One person suggested putting a skating rink in the Second Street Park, for winter ice skating and warmer weather roller skating.

Discussion also centered on how to work with the Old Order Amish settlement in southwestern Fayette County. Other areas with Amish settlements often have businesses that attract visitors to the county.

Groups also noted the need for high speed broadband internet and cell phone service in many areas of the county.

Participants were asked to vote on which of the suggestions they liked best. Those votes will go into a later session where an overall vision for the county will be developed. People will vote on which ideas they like best.