News & Media

Kelly Ryan Blog: Places Define a Community, But They are Nothing Without People

Tue. May 13, 2014

Think about a place that has had a big impact on you. What was powerful, memorable and special about it?

I remember visiting New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. There was unbelievable devastation. But the more powerful sight for me was seeing people come together to support one another and rebuild the places in their neighborhoods that were important to them.

Places are not just a building or a sidewalk. They are what people make them. Please watch this video, which helps to visualize the opportunities that exist when we view spaces and places with an open mind.

Incourage saw potential in the former Daily Tribune building. As a result, we purchased the space with the intent that residents would make it a place of their own. Over 500 community members have been involved in this resident-led decision making process.

The plans for the building’s future, as determined by residents, were revealed at our first meeting of Phase 2 on April 29. For full details, go to TribuneBuilding.org.

Because residents came together and viewed this space with an open mind, soon they will be found sipping locally brewed beer at tables overlooking the Wisconsin River, or hooking into a safety harness for an afternoon climb on an indoor rock wall. They might rent a kayak for a paddle down the river, or participate in experimental learning in the creative workshop.

The Tribune Building will be a dynamic place that has a long-lasting impact in south Wood County. Most importantly, it will serve as an example of what happens when residents come together and exercise their power and ability to shape the future of our community.

Thanks for reading.


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  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.