Inter-city visit

First Impressions of Bloomington and Inter-City Visit

If you've followed the wealth of tweets that have come out of this first day of the Inter-City Visit you know that three groups of participants got up early this morning and made our way to Indiana by bus, plane, and bus again. We took a bus tour of Bloomington, had an opening reception, and then split into groups to have discussions about housing, downtowns, sustainability, education, and the arts. Over 60 members of the Bloomington community joined us for these conversations.

Here are my impresssions so far.
- Many of the buildings downtown and on Indiana University's campus are made of locally quarried limestone and are really lovely.

- Bloomington has a very large downtown that is laid out in a much more grid-like configuration than Carrboro or Chapel Hill.

- Bloomington is home to IU and is the county seat and has a lot of associated reasons to bring folks downtown.

- Bloomington City Hall is located in a renovated factory (the Showers Factory) that is very attractive.

Inter-city Visit to Bloomington


Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 8:00am to Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 8:00pm


Bloomington, In

Preparing for the Inter-City Visit to Bloomington, Indiana

Nearly 80 participants leave for Bloomington a week from this Sunday. The discussions to be held during the visit should spark some interesting dialogue both during the event and once back in Orange County. The visit is split up into a series of Conversations with topics including: Community Branding, Economic Development, A Thriving Downtown, Student Housing, University-Community Partnerships,Innovations in Government, Community Colleges: Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development, and K-12 Education. There will also be time for one-on-one conversations with our counterparts. On the second day there will be field trips to a trail, theater, high school, museum, or art center (I hope to go visit the Bloomington Community Orchard).

The Twitter hashtag for the visit is #ICV2012. I plan to tweet during the visit (@mollsdemarco), and I imagine a number of others will as well.

Let's increase the ROI on Inter-city Visits

I've long been skeptical of the bi-annual Inter-city Visits organized by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, err sorry, that's actually the Chamber-owned Partnership for a Sustainable Community. The intention to visit a community and learn from their successess and failures is a good one. But the reality of an expensive trip with the wealthy and powerful of Chapel Hill - where the learning stops when the return flight touches down at RDU - is a little different.

The Chamber ventures far from home

If you thought the Chamber of Commerce's biannual Inter-City Visits were junkets of questionable value, you might be interested to note that now they're organizing a trip to China!  The most amazing part to me is that they charged participants $1,130 for a whirlwind 2-day trip to Michigan, but the cost for their 8-day China trip is only $2,099 (plus travel to JFK airport).  Someone must be underwriting this trip. Who is it and why?



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