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Bringing Back Village Hubs

By December 3, 2022No Comments

A place to gather, sip coffee, buy local products, access health services–and maybe even do your laundry!

Creating community hubs is part of the Applegate Valley’s community-inspired Vision Plan. It is part of an effort to make the Valley “Prosperous and Vital.”

 

by Community Writer

Community is about connection. It’s about a culture of action. Actions is what people do for one another and with each other.

The people of the Applegate Valley are filled with community spirit. It’s inherent in who we are, and it’s why long term residents are still in the area and why newcomers are attracted to it.

I was introduced to A Greater Applegate (AGA) by way of their Business Network Holiday Party, This yearly event open to the public and is an opportunity for the community to network and meet, hear AGA’s  plans, provide input and ideas for projects, and sign up for volunteer opportunities.

AGA HAS held local listening sessions to hear directly from the community to identify its needs. One idea that came up repeatedly was a need for more places to gather. “People long for more gathering places and easier access to services, and Village Hubs are the best way to address that,” states Seth Kaplan, co-executive director for AGA.

Village Hubs are commonly thought of as a public space that brings community agencies and neighborhood groups together to offer a range of activities, programs and services.

AGA is looking to bring just that to the Applegate Valley–but with a bit of a spin. Seth explains: “In our case, we are defining [Village Hubs] as a concentrated collection of public and private resources spread strategically in the rural commercial corridors of the Applegate Valley.“  Those rural commercial corridors include Ruch, Applegate, Provolt, and Murphy, with outlying areas in Wilderville/Jerome Prairie, Williams, McKee Bridge, and Buncom.

“We are seeing this as a way to build both economic and social vitality,” explains Seth.

AGA wants to nurture this development to allow for services like coffee shops, work spaces, Internet access, laundromat, social and health services, and places to sell locally-made and grown products. The hubs would serve as community centers where people can gather to conduct business and visit with neighbors.

“We’re excited about this project because we live here and also would love to have places to go and shop where we can see neighbors and support local businesses,” Seth continues. We would like local people to buy what they need from local people.”

Seth feels that Village Hubs can have a lasting benefit on the quality of life in the Applegate, enabling people to live and work here more easily than is now possible. “The more I can do my daily business in the Applegate the happier I am.”

The Village Hub purpose is simple: To provide the opportunity for the people of the valley to thrive together.

There are concerns though, ranging from security to funding.

Questions include:

  • How Hubs could change the face of the valley?
  • What other support services would be needed to maintain and keep the area secure?
  • How and where will funding for these Hubs come from?
  • Is this rooted in driving tourism?
  • How will increased traffic be controlled?
  • What will we do to protect the current way of life and safety of the residents who may end up living in proximity to a Village Hub?

All of these are valid questions and concerns. The key to driving successful change is the residents planning for the future together. The community should keep its values and ways-of-life front and center, while leaning into the inevitability of change.

This project is in its early stages  and AGA wants to hear from the community.If you would like to participate in helping research and design of the Village Hub concept, please reach out to [email protected].

 

This is a mini-series story, visit Applegate Valley Connect often to read more about this project and how you could  get involved!

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