Heather Gracy: Strive for 'Sense of Place' Policies
Candidates were asked: If you could leave one indelible policy mark on Dunedin, what would it be?
This week, we asked the candidates:
- If you could leave one indelible policy mark on Dunedin, what would it be?
Heather Gracy responds:
As a Dunedin City Commissioner, I will strive to include a "sense of place" in policies so the characteristics of Dunedin are represented in all we do and create. Although the term itself is broad by definition, a sense of place applies to a variety of functions such as geography, urban planning, nature, landscapes, community, recreation and arts and culture.
Many residents have mentioned this term with me during my campaign through Dunedin. City staff members and committees have included it in many meetings with me. In searching for the definition that made the most sense to me in terms of an indelible policy mark, I offer the following from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “those things that add up to a feeling that a community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else.”
Building "sense of place" policy into our local government shows me the confidence we can display to our residents, business owners and city stakeholders that we’re investing in them. I believe it serves as a reminder of how we can set Dunedin apart and be different, especially in highly urbanized areas of Pinellas County where sprawl and commercialism strip away charm. Promoting themes like shopping local and our Main Street image is adhering to Dunedin’s "sense of place."
Living in Dunedin, we all find and choose those things that make us love living here. For me, I’ve found that the Hammock Park and its trails give me respite and space where I meander my bike through and enjoy solitude and quiet enjoyment. I can surround myself in a place that is, for the most part, characteristic of Dunedin and keeps me coming back. The investigative work ongoing in the Hammock to reduce invasive plants is a terrific example of "sense of place."
Many generations have worked hard to define Dunedin and our city has evolved and flourished because of their dedication. Direction that includes protecting Dunedin’s different and vibrant characteristics is the mark for which I will strive when setting policies for our delightful city.
See Also, David Carson's response.