Recovery begins with admitting there is a problem.
Apathy is the source of nearly every community problem, and until it is addressed, progress is impossible. No amount of planning or funding can make people care about their community. In this phase, we will have frank and honest conversations about a community’s struggles, so we can begin to understand what challenges lie ahead.


Apathy Intervention

Communities are a collection of people, of businesses, and all the common spaces and places in between. The success of every entity in a community is dependent on the place in which they all share. It does, after all, take a village. Each institution’s individual success will be limited by the health of their common location. If there is no collective entity in the community concerned with improving the quality of life and creating a vibrant core, every person, company and organization will suffer from the disconnect. This process brings together community stakeholders to have honest conversations about what it takes to revitalize and develop a consensus vision about what people want and what it will take to get there. From this new collective effort, we will work together to create a sustainable, community based organization, to oversee the revitalization process.


September 9, 2021

It’s Not Me, It’s You

I knew we had to break up. I don’t know when it became clear to me. Like driving in a heavy fog, objects ahead don’t become visible all at once,

July 7, 2023

Tell Me What You Want

The reason community engagement surveys tend to feel meaningless is because everyone ignores the results. Last week in Marshalltown, Iowa, I had a chance to sit in as the results

April 13, 2023

Your City is Not Special

I have some good news and bad news for you, but I sincerely believe the good news far outweighs the bad. The bad news may sting for a moment, but

September 15, 2022

It’s The Cages

"It’s the cages” This is the epiphany British journalist Johann Hari had when studying addiction and the most salient point he makes in his mind-blowing TED Talk titled “Everything You

August 25, 2022

Kids These Days

“Kids these days.” Of all the tropes I loathe, and there are plenty- this one takes the cake. I have to assume that dating back to the time of neanderthals,

October 27, 2020

This is How it Started… This is How it’s Going.

It’s hard to watch the “how it started/how it’s going” meme go around and not immediately think of our cities and towns. They started so well, with integrity, hard work,

March 1, 2022

Who Cares?

Who really cares anyway? Well, everyone in fact. We all care. At least we all strive to care. Every one of us tries to fill our lives with more things

February 10, 2022

As You Like It

It’s really not that hard. We are waaaay overthinking all of this. In fact, it’s pretty simple. Cities are full of people, so we should prioritize people. Cars don’t even

December 2, 2021

Falling Tides

What’s that old phrase… a falling tide lowers all ships?  Am I getting that right? I believe it was Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone that said something similar, “When we all

November 11, 2021

Cut the Fat. Repair the Heart.

Cut the fat, repair the heart. That was the advice that came to mind. Last week, a colleague of mine was elected mayor of his town in central Pennsylvania. He

November 9, 2021

Sorry About Your E.D.

I know it is a touchy subject, but something must be said. We can’t keep tik-toking around the subject. Pretending it isn’t affecting you, won’t make it go away. I

November 30, 2020

Choose Civic Pride

We are all subject to the effects of apathy. Every one of us is tempted to do less, give less or accept less. While this might be our nature, to

August 31, 2021

At the Heart (& Soul) of Revitalization

I certainly did not picture myself working with an organization called Community Heart & Soul. I named my business Revitalize, or Die. after all, so I tend towards the surly

August 11, 2021

Welcome to Shit Town

Let me be honest here, this place makes me feel like shit. But in my defense, it was designed to. Other than selling me some absolute garbage that I 100%

November 15, 2019

Fuck Apathy

Apathy is the cancer of community and rarely does it stop until it has effectively destroyed its host. Apathy sneaks in at night and parades on in when everyone is

February 18, 2020

Help Isn’t On The Way

Help Isn’t On The Way HGTV was in my feed quite a lot last week, which I can promise you is unusual. I generally avoid HGTV, not because I am

August 25, 2020

How to Mend a Broken City

When talking about a topic, our thinking is confined by the language we use. The words provide the framework for how we view an issue. When we talk about communities,

September 1, 2020

The Road to Recovery – part 1

We don’t typically talk about cities like we do people. We avoid language that personalizes a place, instead favoring the language of corporate America. I talked about this a bit

September 17, 2020

The Road to Recovery – Part 2

I like to get these things out on a weekly basis, but last week had me managing my own recovery. I was laid up from a shoulder and bicep surgery,

September 23, 2020

The Road to Recovery – Part 3 (5 Points of Pride)

This is the final post in a series explaining how communities can utilize the Road to Recovery process to help them navigate a path back to good health. In the

September 29, 2020

Stop Catering to the Deadbeats

Vacant property kills communities. Vacant and deteriorating property increases crime, depresses property values, diminishes the tax base, lowers community self-esteem, repels potential tenants, investors and tourists and breeds rampant apathy.