Hackensack Asks Community To Be Game Changers & Improve Area
“It’s kind of nice to see the community pride. It’s nice to see the new ideas; everybody bouncing things off and that Hackensack is alive and well,” says event attendee Jay Cline.
Hackensack has a plan to change things up for the better, and this weekend, more than 50 community members got together to share their ideas about how to do that.
“I’ve noticed that there really hasn’t been much growth lately, and that’s kind of something that’s important to me is community development and making it a place that my kids want to grow up,” says Travis Kelley, a Hackensack Game Changer.
“I want people to flock from other towns to make it so I’m not alone. I don’t have to go to the [Twin] Cities or go to Brainerd or Bemidji to meet up with people my age,” says Justin Krueger, another Hackensack Game Changer.
The “Be The Game Changer” story actually started months ago in June 2017. Hackensack submitted a competitive grant to the Initiative Foundation and was eventually chosen as a finalist. Then, a panel started meeting to discuss ways to attract more people to the area. The Initiative Foundation staff even helped by giving special training to the game changers.
“We had training on leadership; identifying our own leadership styles, recognizing other leadership styles. We had training on recognizing different work strengths,” says Barbara Harrington, who is also on the Hackensack Game Changer team.
Fast forward to this past Saturday, when all ages were invited to share ideas on how to make Hackensack a better place to live and a more attractive spot for visitors. The chatter in the room was almost endless from start to finish.
“At our table, we came up with some ideas to especially spearhead economic development. Utilize the strengths of our such as the tourism; the beautiful lake front that we have out here,” says Bill Kennedy, another Hackensack Game Changer.
“Different ways to fix up the community center. Different ways to make use of the buildings that we already have on Main Street,” adds Krueger.
“I’ve lived here 65 years, and I’ve seen a lot of changes in Hackensack, but right now we need changes, and the people who sat at my table seemed to have a lot of good ideas,” says Dorothy Harrington, who attended the event.
If Hackensack is chosen to move on to the next step, they will be challenged to match a $20,000 grant that will hopefully be used to make some of the ideas heard tonight a reality.
Barbara says, “We have no doubt that we’ll have that $20,000! We have no doubt that’s we’ve got the time and the talent and the energy to move forward and get that match.”
Additional training will be provided to the Hackensack Game Changers in March.