I got an invitation in the mail the other day that made me wish that I had more friends. The group 1000 Friends of Wisconsin is celebrating their tenth anniversary tomorrow and they wanted me to come to the party. Actually, if I recall correctly, I just missed being one of the 1000 Friends and my membership number is 1083 or so.
The 1000 Friends are not just a group that gets together to party every 10 years or so, they are a group working to make the state a better place to live. They seek to do this by implementing Smart Growth, or to put it simply to make cities great cities, and let the country stay open and rural. Unfortunately I cannot lay my hands on the source of the quote, but one of their mailings said that “cities are the saviour of wilderness.”
This rings true to me on a very deep level. Even along Franklin street here a number of houses have been built along the road as it goes out into the county, privitizing what was once a very nice view to the north. Now, those homes were not built into a wilderness of anykind, but in a small way show what can be lost as development spreads further out.
In honor of their 10th anniversary the 1000 Friends are giving out a number of awards for people and organizations that have tried to make our communities more livable while preserving the rural and wilderness areas of the state. I think it is a good mix of public and private efforts and represents the best of what Wisconsin has to offer. I hope that we in Wausau will pay heed to these kinds of efforts and maybe at the 15th anniversary we will see Wausau or Marathon county represented in their awards.
Wausau is in a great position as a livable city surrounded by wonderful rural and scenic lands, I hope we can keep that character as time goes on.
So, check out the awards list and see how, working together, we can move towards having the best of both worlds.