Commentary by Cindy Benedict
“Noblesville strives to be an authentic, diverse and livable community of excellence where people love to live, work and play.” This vision statement for the city was developed by Mayor John Ditslear and the Noblesville Vision Steering Committee this year. Combined with the mayor’s personal motto of “Serving Noblesville ONE person at a time,” a strong statement is made about what kind of community Noblesville is and wants to be.
In August I wrote about “authenticity” and now I’d like to ponder “livability.” There are a number of organizations that rank “Livable Cities” but it is pretty clear that they are measuring quality of life – things like crime rates, health statistics, educational attainment, cost of living and infrastructure. These measurements are important, and are certainly factors in deciding where to live.
However, “livability” seems like something more to me. A livable community is the place you want to call home. It needs to include intangibles like beauty (natural and manmade), the ease of integrating into new groups and having a wide assortment of such groups to choose from, pride in your community and a willingness to contribute to its success. It is a place you feel comfortable in – like a favorite sweater – a warm, protective place that makes you look good.
But what is comfortable to me is probably different for you, so a livable community must have enough opportunities and diversity to appeal to many people. This doesn’t mean catering to the bland but rather encouraging excellence in a variety of venues – civic groups, sports, the arts, shopping, housing stock and employment. A livable community also has a heart to care for our most vulnerable – children, elders, animals and people who are economically or socially marginalized. Livable communities can’t prevent hard circumstances but they can provide resources to help families get back on their feet.
Which brings us to the final line you see on the city’s website – “Noblesville is the Heart of it All – Commerce, Culture and Community.” It is easy to think of these as marketing slogans but I’d challenge you on that. Combined they describe a livable community – one that is concerned about the individual and creating an authentic, diverse city with a heart. One of the goals of the Vision Steering Committee is to make sure we always remain that livable community of excellence.
I would like to thank the Noblesville Vision Steering Committee for their hard work in 2014. Mark Boice, Dr. Libbie Conner, Mayor John Ditslear, Bob DuBois, Michael Hendricks, Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, Dr. John Paris and Connie Sanders provided insight and wisdom as we examined our city’s strengths and weaknesses. I know they will continue their good work in 2015.
Cindy Benedict is the community engagement manager for the City of Noblesville. She may be reached at 770-2007 or email@example.com.