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Old Englewood Village Association
home : features : old englewood village association
October 16, 2021

10/1/2021 12:39:00 PM

Todd Tracy

Does anyone remember the movie the Fifth Element from 1997, staring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich? It was a futuristic thriller were once again good saves our planet from evil. In one memorable scene the villain intentionally pushes a glass off his desktop to demonstrate his chaos theory. Suddenly a flock of cleaning robots spring into action and sweep up the scattered glass while the villain explains how chaos and order are interdependent. Which you must admit is an interesting concept.    
For those among us that have never seen chaos on Dearborn Street before, the current street “improvement” must seem shocking. But for the rest of us, the ones that debated putting a fence across 776 to keep the first street improvement to ourselves, this second “breaking” seems a lot less painful.
Living through improvements, especially for our local businesses, is seldom easy, no matter how great the outcome will be. A fun analogy might be your penny pinching relative who annoyingly came back to visit. Or that neighbor who again brought his pet over for you to watch as he travels. The good, or the bad news, depending on your age, and level of pet appreciation, is that time flies. Relatives leave, neighbors return, and improvement projects get finished before you know it.
Now the point, your Old Englewood Village Association, OEVA, is under construction as well, but not to the point of chaos as some have assumed. Let’s back up for a moment. Historically OEVA focused on Dearborn Street, because nearly forty years ago when OEVA was founded, the street was the focus of our community. But even then, Englewood was much more than one street with a handful of pioneering businesses. Nearby was Grove City, Old Grove City, Cape Haze, Rotonda, New Point Comfort, Point of Pines, Englewood Farm Acres, Placida, etc.  
Englewood also included what I would call intangible assets. Current examples would include our extensive arts organizations and activities. We have natural resources like the beaches and our waterways. And tourism, while not a true brick-and-mortar business, is a big part of our community. Englewood also has a growing collection of planned communities, love them, or hate them. Most offer tons of resident amenities like recreational, social and entertainment services.  
Back to the theme, order from chaos, via improvements. OEVA, like our beloved street and plaza, is being improved. Part of that process has been defining what the community would like our efforts to focus on and who, or what, does OEVA represent? Some believe that OEVA efforts should remain focused on supporting the local businesses by hosting or sponsoring entertaining events intended to draw consumers to the street.
Others want to accomplish the same goal but with a slant towards art projects. Some want OEVA to become an informational superhighway where our local information is organized, managed, shared, or easily retrieved. Some just want to feel, something, anything, which drives me crazy! Myself, I want two things. To co-manage the downtown with our fellow community organizations for everyone’s benefit, and to effectively expand some of Dearborn Street’s life into the adjoining walking arts district.
Unlike the glass example, we don’t have to break anything to achieve these goals. Best of all, OEVA is already working on them. Part of that process is communicating better so OEVA is improving our already amazing web site, www.OldEnglewood.com, that was created and donated to the organization by our past president, Eric Peterson.
The planned improvements will expand the foundational automation, the ease-of-use features, add a new community blog and link it to several social media outlets. Forums will be expanded for different interest groups and the organizations planning, sharing, and record storage tools will be improved.
I know this all sounds repetitive and expensive, perhaps even wasteful. Personally, I was hesitant to buy into the concept that OEVA needed a better community tool, because my “smart” phone is basically a paper weight that spends most of the day on my desktop where it belongs. But after some very serious shopping, a remote contractor was hired to expand on Eric’s work.  This contractor is qualified and professionally managed by a third party.
In closing. Order does seem to be dependent on chaos in some mysterious way. But rest assured that in a very short period of time, the chaos will pass and Englewood will have safer cross walks, better sidewalks, new landscaping, benches, lighting, additional parking, and a downtown plaza to be proud of; not to mention a better OEVA community web site.

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