Becky, Deb, Karen and Kay are the Riverspace Piazza (patio space by the dam and fire sculpture) Team. They created, they planned, they organized and they implemented. They also laughed and emailed and called and texted. Then they laughed more.
This team came to appreciate their varying strengths and play off each other’s gifts. They had monthly meetings at the start, and amped up their communication as more demands and responsibilities were added. As with most projects, they were biting off more than they imagined they could chew, but…
THEY DID IT.
When asked what they’ve gained (other than a gorgeous space to sit with coffee and cookies any day of the week), this team says that their community pride has grown. Becky stated that the reason she and her husband came back here after moving away is because of the community effort of New London’s people. They had not seen a volunteer movement like ours in any community and they wanted to return and live within that social support system.
The team also described the way that their friendships have grown since starting this project. They came together with dynamics in place from previous work, but a few didn’t not know one another, and now they do–because of this project, they call each other friend.
They’ve learned new things together, shared expertise with each other and gathered resources to bring a dream to life.
Better utilizing the once desolate space behind Main Street and next to the dam has been desired by this team and many others in the community for a long time. We are grateful for the hours (and hours and hours) these four women have given, along with their spouses and friends, connections and local businesses. (The Piazza Team enlisted the help of about a dozen boy scouts, Green Lake Nursery, Three Sisters Furnishings, Crow River Watershed District and more!)
This space includes a large stone patio, bench seating from Three Sisters, beautiful plantings that invite pollinators and a centerpiece that speaks our history – the millstone!
Involving members of the community was central to this project. One way the team engaged community was to provide Alley Chats with experts, out by the dam. Four different conversations were held including talks with Larry Levin, Don Anderson and Becky West and her husband. These chats focused on the heart of the Riverspace Project, our history and natural environment.
They weren’t always sure what was expected, being trusted to find their way through the project. But they pulled together through adversity and contributed something meaningful and inspiring for our community to share.