Striving to help communities increase and sustain their prosperity, the Strong America Tour will make a stop in Cartersville Oct. 4. While the gathering is more than a month away, reservations are required to attend the complimentary presentation.
“A few years ago Bo Wright, who works for Strong Towns but whose parents live here in Cartersville, contacted me to see if we might be interested in hosting a lecture with Chuck,” Cartersville Downtown Development Authority Director Lillie Read said, referring to Strong Towns President and Founder Charles L. Marohn Jr. “He felt like, with the growth that Cartersville has seen, this would be a good place to highlight the Strong Towns message of how to grow and maintain financially strong and resilient cities. At the time, we could not make the details line up but when my board brought up Strong Towns again recently, I reached out to see when they were going to be near Atlanta and whether we could make a date work.
“This is an event that the DDA wanted to organize and support because we believe that Cartersville, northwest Georgia and communities along the I-75 corridor are poised for serious growth in the coming years. As such, we wanted to contribute to the conversation by providing an opportunity to hear a nationally recognized expert discuss these challenging issues. Our hope is that it will stimulate thought-provoking conversations and get our local officials, influencers and citizens excited about what is possible for the future.”
Ongoing from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Strong America Tour offering will take place at The Grand Theatre, 7 N. Wall St.
“Chuck’s presentation will be approximately 90 minutes with the first part of the presentation dedicated to a discussion of why so many towns in North America are struggling financially in spite of decades of robust growth, with the second part of the presentation selected by the audience from a variety of topics via a text-to-vote mechanism,” Read said. “We have the option of picking from the topic list in advance but I am really curious to see what the local community wants to hear about so we’re going for a vote.
“Yes, I am definitely looking forward to attending the presentation. A few of my board members and I have been following Strong Towns for years and we feel like there is a lot of wisdom to be taken from their message. That is part of the reason we wanted to host the event and make it free, to help bring some of that value to our local and regional communities.”
Describing the Strong America presentation as “part community conversation” and “part lecture from an expert,” Strong Towns Communications Manager Kea Wilson shared it is the “catalyst” community leaders and residents need to financially strengthen their city.
“We hope every attendee leaves with a new understanding of the human flaws in their town's dominant approach to growth and development in the built environment, and the sense that they can and must do something to make a change,” she said. “Every citizen can be a part of a bottom-up revolution to making their town more prosperous, and Strong Towns exists to help them find the next, smallest thing they can do to make it happen, whether they're a stay-at-home mom or a mayor, a councilperson or just a neighbor who loves their community.”
Following the gathering, Marohn’s “Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity” will be available for purchase and a signing will be conducted. To be released Oct. 1, his literary work is being published by John Wiley & Sons Inc.
“Midway through his career as a planner and engineer, Chuck had a powerful realization about the built environment he worked in every day,” Wilson said. “He realized that for generations, North American communities had been growing — or at least, they'd been building.
“But as we've paved endless roads, raised countless buildings and put more and more infrastructure in the ground, we’ve given almost no thought to whether future generations will be able to afford to maintain the world we'll leave them with — or how many of the things we build are making our communities worse places to live today. Strong Towns exists to blaze a better forward, and ‘Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity’ is a manual for walking that path.”
As the mayor of Cartersville and the administrator for The Grand Theatre, Matt Santini’s interest in this event is twofold.
“This Cartersville Downtown Development Authority coordinated this event,” he said. “When they approached us about hosting the program, we happily obliged. We are always looking for new and creative programs to bring into the theater that are important to the community and that will attract a different audience. We expect this event to check all the boxes.
“This event will be a great opportunity to listen to someone who has studied and been involved with planning and development in many places for many years. I look forward to hearing his comments and perhaps applying some of the strategies that he shares in our community.”
For more information about the upcoming event and to place reservations, visit www.eventbrite.com.
“We hope that community stakeholders, local government officials and all interested citizens will take the opportunity to come and see Chuck speak,” Read said. “As they say on the Strong Towns website — ‘We believe that in order to have a lasting impact on our culture, we must educate, excite and inspire citizens of all backgrounds to get involved in the conversation about how we build our world, and advocate for a Strong Towns approach.’ We here at the DDA are eager to keep those conversations going and invite the community to join us.”