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updated CULTURE
"Creating Culture Is Our Collective Art Form"

What a difference three decades make in the life of a community. Devastated first by the decline of the timber industry and the closing of the mill, then by the near collapse of the fishing industry, the townfolk responded with courage, ingenuity and hard work to redefine and revitalize Fort Bragg. City government coordinated the views and skills of the community as we worked through the long and complex task of developing a plan for the mill site. With an eye on our history, and a determination to maintain our small town virtues, we sought out the best new technologies and the newest economic possibilities. Recognizing the power of localization and sustainability we rebuilt our economy, and in the process fully integrated the opportunities of the mill site with our vision for the whole community.

While the original task of guiding the redevelopment of the mill site seemed daunting at the beginning, it mostly turned out to be a pretty common sense approach to tending the health of the whole town, including a the addition of a lot of new land on the ocean edge. We have a great park along the sea, linking many miles of coastal trails and access. The retail expansion within the mill site increased the capacity of downtown attracting and serving both tourists and locals and still maintained the flavor of small seaside town. The larger growth projects have included educational, cultural, art, performance and convention facilities. Lovely, state of the art, diversified housing of many types is scattered throughout the "new part of town", maintaining a delightful feeling of a small seaside community. The old surrounded and included the new, and the new emerged from and honored the traditions and values of the old.

Community here on the coast now means shared responsibility for food, shelter, transportation, health care, and education - and achieving that goal has brought increasing and sustainable prosperity. Renewing and rebuilding our community over the past twenty years has engaged many more of us in civic projects - our new favorite recreation. Inspired by the idea that "Creating Culture Is Our Collective Art Form", everybody helps design, build, create, and then celebrate our collective success all the time. There are ample, diverse opportunities for all kinds of relationships and organizations, a profound respect for diversity, and a high sensitivity to the right to be left alone.

Our economic renewal created prosperity, opportunity, and diversity. The wealthier of us reinvested in the local business community, which helped more of us earn a good living. We really got it that true wealth means that every person has a opportunity to do good work, earn a comfortable living, and lead prosperous, long healthy lives. Our increasing diversity made our culture richer and deeper, and give us more to appreciate about one another. We learned each other's languages. We maintained strong individualistic and group identities, but at the same time became deeply invested in our integrated coastal community. Our children stayed, and made new families - because they could - and we again became a truly intergenerational community. Our kids checked in at home after school, before heading over to visit Grandma and Grandpa.



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updated CULTURE : Charles Bush
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