Kicking Off “Community Conversations”

Kicking Off "Community Conversations"

By Kathy Miller

Dear friends and readers,

Welcome to Community Conversations, our new Mount Desert 365 blog. On these periodic, digital pages we will bring you interesting and engaging essays from a variety of people covering a range of topics, all with an underlying theme of what it means to be part of a small community. We’ll also use this platform to inform you about our efforts to foster a sustainable year-round community while preserving its natural environment.

We are starting this blog because our tagline “Community Year-Round” is more than intentional, it’s foundational. It’s at the heart of who we are and what we do. In fact, we first tried to call the organization Community 365, but that name was already taken. Most of our outgoing communications have rightly been about local businesses and events in an effort to support the local economy. Community Conversations will highlight our organization’s own plans on multiple fronts, and the reasons behind them. The time has come to be more vocal about our efforts and to bring new voices to this conversation, to help us express just what community means. Fostering a stronger sense of community and getting to know some of our neighbors better are important steps toward a better future for us all.

Whether you are from a multi-generational MDI family (as with our Communications Manager Eliza), or from-away-and-here-to-stay (that’s me), most of us call MDI our home for a reason – we love it here and we’ve made the conscious decision to live here, even if for only part of the year. Many MDI residents have deep roots here, choosing to stay, work, play, raise a family here, and spend time with friends they’ve known their whole lives. For some “boomerangs” it means returning after living somewhere else for years (Eliza again). For others, it means coming back every summer to a very special place known perhaps since childhood, or even transitioning from a seasonal resident to being here year-round. For many, it means letting out a sigh of relief crossing the bridge onto MDI after being almost anywhere else in the world. Despite all its small-town complexities – or perhaps because of them – we get to enjoy the stunning, natural beauty of the place, interact with like-minded people, and feel safe in our little corner of the world, happy to call MDI home.

There are a few topics we plan to raise via this blog which we hope will offer insights into how MD365 reaches decisions, what guides or informs our planning efforts, and offer transparency into our plans for the future:

  • Economic development: what it might look like here
  • Affordable housing: why it’s so essential and what shape it might take
  • Critical infrastructure: what it means in the 21st century
  • Neighbors: why both seasonal and year-round are essential, and why we want more good neighbors!

Our goal is to share two posts each month on this page, and we will provide links to it via our newsletter, social media, etc. We will welcome your feedback on any of these posts. You can email us at community@mountdesert365.org and we’ll let you know we’ve heard from you and/or will pass along your comments to our guest writers. Please let us know if you’d like to post an essay yourself and we can work out the logistics.

Thank you for joining us in this space. We hope you find reading these Community Conversations posts to be time well spent.

Kathy Miller
Executive Director