After receiving an email on October 11th from Merge Urban Development (MUD) suspending talks about developing Carver Corner and hosting their first public presentation, the World Peace Village Advisory Board (WPVAB) has brought in a lot of new information pertaining to their project. On Tuesday, November 26th, at their regular weekly meeting, the WPVAB began sifting through that information and using it to inform their next steps towards creating a World Peace Park and Village at the Carver Corner site.
At their public presentation, members of the WPVAB felt that most people had a positive impression of their project. “I would say the general population has a favorable view of us,” said WPVAB member Dick Maeglin. Though WPVAB supporter Kerry Dennison tempered Maeglin’s enthusiasm a bit by saying, “a lot of the who’s who was there, but I was a little disappointed that more of the general public didn’t come,” the majority of the people at the meeting agreed that they had a fair amount of local support for the project.
However, WPVAB members did frankly address that they had heard concerns about the project from several prominent groups.
Acknowledging that getting a World Peace Park and Village built will take community support at all levels, WPVAB member Tom Emerick found it vital to take the positions of those with concerns seriously and to work to find common ground. “We need to look at it from their perspective and accept that it’s a valid perspective,” he stated. Others seconded his thoughts, ultimately agreeing that everyone involved has Muscatine’s best interests at heart.
To move their project forward then, the WPVAB broadly decided that it needs to become more organized, putting forth a fully formed plan that they could possibly present to MUD, and develop a stronger public presence to help clarify their message and gain more supporters.
In order to develop their plans, the WPVAB has begun considering hiring a part time project manager. All members identified that they would like someone with strong organizational skills and the ability to work autonomously, while WPVAB member Lori Carroll and Dennison added that they would like someone with construction or development experience as well. Though the WPVAB did not come up with a final job description, they would like someone to flesh out their development plans and possibly communicate them to developers and the City.
Along with solidifying their plans, the WPVAB also wants to bring themselves into the public eye a little more to garner public support. Though this may ultimately result in the group hiring a public relations person, the group focused on having the WPVAB board together as a whole appear at their future public events, and to make sure they keep their cause before the City, who owns the land at Carver Corner.