Unity, uniqueness can live in same space
By MICHAEL CALDWELL
Almost every community in central Kentucky stands strong on its own, but it is exciting to think about what could be accomplished by locking arms and truly becoming united as one region.
City and county borders can actually bring us together rather than separate us.
As a native of the Bluegrass but an outsider to this part of the state, one of the things that has been very striking to me while in the communities I work in each week — Nicholasville, Wilmore, Danville, Winchester, Stanford, Lexington and several others — is that each community is very unique, all with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Since they span several counties, each operates entirely independently of one another. Most have their own chambers of commerce, schools, government agencies, economic development entities, historical groups and so on.
This fierce independence is tremendous and a testament to the hard work by all the men and women involved. Each community is unique and should operate as such, but the old saying that “there is strength in numbers” holds true here as well.
What could be accomplished if more groups began working more closely together, refusing to allow lines on a map or political subdivisions to divide us?
Partnerships and cooperation by various entities within a community is certainly important, and is already underway in many cases. There is also progress with cooperation between some regional organizations to promote tourism and economic development, but these efforts are really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what could be accomplished.
What if law enforcement from all the central Kentucky communities and their neighbors got together a few times year to talk about challenges and ways to collaborate?
What if every chamber of commerce spent some time together focusing on hosting programs and initiatives that would help virtually any business, regardless of whether it is located in Nicholasville, Danville, Winchester or somewhere else?
What if government entities looked at pooling their buying power or other resources?
Would it be possible for the public school districts from multiple counties to collaborate on creating more positive initiatives to engage youth and help them get involved in their respective communities?
Could the various colleges and educational institutions look for more ways to partner with one another? They are all working to achieve the overall goal that is essentially the same: To provide the education needed for individuals to succeed in life.
Some of these types of initiatives are already occurring in varying degrees, but the idea is that we can always do more cooperatively than we can by standing as individuals.
Author and statesman Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Although that may be hyperbole when it comes to the challenges we face here in Central Kentucky, the founding father’s underlying message still holds true hundreds of years later.
Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Advocate-Messenger and Danville Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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