... that comment was in response to an op-ed piece I wrote for the Metrowest Daily News.
In the article, I described a vision for a ten-thousand-foot corridor that stretches through our town.
Pond Street, in its current condition, is a dump.
Is this a story about a government infrastructure project? No. It spotlights engaging imagination to materialize your aim. In my case, even when the entire community thinks I’m smoking weed.
Setting the scene with a quick backstory.
I spent north of two decades at a global Architectural/Engineering consulting firm. Way cool. Architects are my peeps. They are the ultimate manifestors because they envision a structure in his/her imagination long before it materializes. It was a match made in Heaven.
Back to it.
My husband, Frank, and I moved from an urban city to a suburban town. Quaint. Open space. Tall pines. And less advanced in design sophistication compared to city living.
Enter Paula Parker.
After developing a Design Review Committee, another “It’ll never be done!” project, Pond Street was next on the list. Residents were beyond frustrated. They were downright hostile. This project had been talked about since the 1990s. Talk. More talk. No action. What further complicated the issue? It’s a State-owned road. Bureaucracy. No matter. It was me, myself and I with a Pond Street vision. I began submitting op-eds to the local paper.
The excerpt that got me labeled as a dope smoking wing nut was, “Thinking from the end” about Pond Street. I see an architecturally aesthetic streetscape. The newly paved road is tree lined with wrought iron street lamps. I see brick cross walks. Pots brimming with flowers and park benches adorn the sidewalks. Browse artesian shops full of unique gifts. Chat with friends at a sidewalk café. See it?”
Was there opposition? Is the Pope Catholic? Yet the vision in my imagination was more powerful than the force mounted against me. Cynics abound. Note to self, the limits, fears or failures of another do not direct your life. Ever.
Like Michelangelo I paint a clear picture in the minds of others. Essential. The gain must be worth their effort. With the help of the Redevelopment Authority, Municipal leaders, State legislators, residents and rock star volunteers, the Pond Street vision gained momentum.
My imagination blueprint also included a tree lined corridor with wrought iron street lamps which meant hiring an Urban Design firm to develop the plan. Again. “We have no money!” My vision prevailed. With the energy of Municipal leaders, we raised the funds to commission an urban design firm. Oh. The landscape plans include trees and ornamental street lights. *Cheshire grin.*
Realists shrieked, “The Metropolitan Planning Organization has limited funds, we’ll never get on the Transportation Improvement Plan!” Paula, “I believe otherwise.” Pond Street is on the TIP and budgeted for $21MM.
Along with commitment to your vision, are hurdles. We caught wind Pond Street was about to be pushed off the funding list, aka, ole boy politics. No, you don’t. We mounted a full court press, involved legislators and large stakeholders. Funding resurrected. Another hurdle scaled.
If all goes according to plan, there’ll be a shovel in the ground by 2020. Imagination becomes reality.
Project Engineers invited me to dinner to talk strategy and ask, “How did you do what you did?” If I said, “I rehearsed the scene in my imagination, could see myself chatting with friends at the outdoor café on Pond Street,” they too could say, “Paula Parker is smoking weed.” No weed. It’s the super powers combined, imagination and action. If I can do it, you can too.
As far as I know, there’s no, IAoM © Imagination Age Owner’s Manual. And imagination is my thing, it has been since I popped onto the planet. I’ve tested it with surgical focus, implementation trial and error. There is a way to pluck an idea from the ether and make it real. Knowing what promotes and what destroys the process is the difference between the birth or death of the idea in your imagination.
Whether you imagine becoming a Circus Clown or the CEO of your billion-dollar empire, there’s a way to it. My earth assignment is to facilitate you getting there. Caveat. You must want it more than I do. So. What’s in your imagination?
(C) Paula M. Parker 2018