Here is an article on Lisle, Illinois. It is larger than Dennis, it has more large employers than we do, but it provides some interesting comparisons as we think about the future of the town and where we want to be.
The article points out the benefits of a careful balance. Commercial uses are a vital part of the town. These commercial areas have been modified over the years to ensure that the pedestrian is as important as the automobile. The commercial areas also appear to include and be bordered by some higher density housing. As the article states “enriched with a diverse array of homes and businesses.” Diversity in living arrangements and employment opportunities seem well balanced.
The article points out that Lisle is a place where they younger generation returns to to raise their family. Housing and activities appear to be available to attract families as well as active singles. The point is also well stated that the community is “close to” certain major cities, but you are not living there.
We have a lot of this present in Dennis. We also are missing much of this. We are close to Boston and Providence. But have we ever stated in marketing the town, “come to our beaches and the peace and quiet of Cape Cod, and take in a Red Sox Game at Fenway?” We need to tie ourselves to the region and point out that we also offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Perhaps our hotels could tie in with a local limousine company to offer such packages – in London most hotels can help you get theater tickets for instance.
As we look at our villages, and this was prevalent in the discussions at the design charrette, we need to think about what attracts various generations to choose where to live. We may never compare with living in Kendall Square for a college age student. But we could offer more than we do. We lack many services needed by young families – even when many studies find that mixing child care and seniors can provide benefits to both age groups.
For the past decade we have spend a lot of time thinking “outside the box” on planning issues. We have been recognized for much of this thinking. We have many challenges ahead of ourselves to ensure that Dennis remains, or regains is position as, an active, well rounded town.