Where We Left Off:

When writer’s block strikes, there is simply no predicting how long it will last. And, before you know it, you realize your last blog post was over a year ago! I guess when life gets busy with weddings (including your own), a new job, studying for the GRE, and simply doing life, blogging tends to fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, I feel like I have been sharpened within that year. Since beginning my job with the City of Waco last September, I’ve honed in on what fuels me most: the city.

I’ve always been enthralled with cities—the architecture, the landscape, the sounds, the food, the people. As a child I imagined creating my own city from nothing, picturing its beauty, its activity. As an undergrad at Maryland, taking urban studies courses excited me and stirred my thinking more than any of my architecture or psychology classes did.

Since arriving in Waco nearly two years ago, my love for cities has grown even more deeply. I’ve been studying Downtown Waco, learning its strengths and weaknesses, dreaming up projects for vacant or underutilized land, reimagining the layouts of its streets, and attending meetings in hopes that others have caught the same bug for this city. And, some have.

In just two years, many projects have cropped up within Waco’s downtown boundaries. The condos in Austin Avenue Flats have opened and fully leased, the Heritage Quarters student housing project has completed, the Roosevelt Building was renovated and reopened with class-A office space, the old Waco High School was converted to affordable lofts, and new restaurants and bars are getting a fresh start here. The convention center renovations are in full swing, as is the construction of Hotel Indigo, which has promised to be one of the most unique and modern hotels in town. The urban fabric is being restored in a truly fascinating way.

So, what does this all mean? My desire to be involved, to share my gifts, to offer my love for the city to the city, has brought me to a crossroads of sorts. I have begun the pursuit toward graduate school for urban/community planning. The thought of immersing myself in planning courses and design studios gives me something to look forward to. The thought of a career that allows me to turn these visions into reality is just amazing. To me, this is the most natural next step, and I can’t wait to dig in.

As I’ve been spending my time thinking about how to improve not only Waco but other cities, I’ve had this feeling that I should share those things here. So, in my future posts I will discuss some of those things I’ve come up with. I hope you enjoy them and are challenged and inspired by them the way I have been. Here’s to Downtown…

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