A new recreational center, fiber connectivity, new water lines throughout the city, and, in the last two years, fourteen new homes. For most rural communities, this is a wishlist that likely will never come to fruition. For Stanton, this is just a sampling of the community enhancements that have been made since 2010.

Still, Stanton isn’t the community that sits back and says we’re doing well enough. Stanton leaders are visionary and determined to continue the community’s ascent. This placemaking action plan is step one, but the real work lies in steps two, three, four, and beyond.

Step two in the process is to grow the bench. Stanton’s recent success is due to its current cohort of community leaders. While incredibly effective, it is not possible for this group to take on seven additional projects on top of what they already are leading. Additionally, growing the bench now gives younger leaders the opportunity to learn from more seasoned leaders – an invaluable experience for all involved, including the community.

Step three is to prioritize and implement. Where will the community expend energy first? Perhaps it’s based on what project will be most catalytic. Maybe it’s which will be the easiest with willing partners already lined up, or maybe it’s based on which will be the easiest to fund. Regardless of the prioritization, it is imperative for the community to take this strategy and run with it immediately to achieve the best results.

Finally, step four is to expand the vision. The community needs to look at what other projects, big or small, will enhance the placemaking projects and position Stanton to best tell its story as it prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2019.

By implementing this full suite of projects, Stanton truly will be a choice community: A place where people young and old feel a sense of belonging. A place where you have opportunities to succeed regardless of your socioeconomic status. And a place where you want to live, work, play, and raise a family.