The group is an evolution from the recent "Boomtown USA" meetings
hosted by the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce Young
Michael Gowin served as the moderator with
assistance from Patrick Doolin. Gowin told the group he was not the
leader of the group, but had been asked to serve only as the
moderator of all discussions. He said he wanted to start by talking
about what has taken place since the last meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Gowin talked about "We Are
Lincoln" versus Boomtown, saying that it was somewhat of a
misinterpretation to connect the We Are Lincoln movement with
Boomtown USA, though admittedly, the group has evolved from that to
what it is now.
The first Boomtown meeting came in October at Lincoln Community
High School and focused on creating a sense of entrepreneurship in
local youth, finding ways to keep them in the community after
college, and interacting with them in a productive way in the
Guest speakers Craig Lindvahl and Jack Schultz spoke at the first
meeting about the talent they have discovered in other areas by
implementing a CEO program for high school-age students. They spoke
on the "Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities" program that was
started in Effingham and how students there became involved in their
own small-business projects. They also talked about some of the
tremendous successes those students have realized after completing
The CEO program is something the chamber is still very interested
in pursuing, but it was what came after that first meeting that lit
the fire for We Are Lincoln.
After that first meeting, the Young Professionals Network set a
date for a Boomtown meeting to occur at ALMH. At
practically the same time, an article written by a former Lincolnite
was published and broadcast through National Public Radio that
painted Lincoln as a decaying city with drug issues and high crime.
Many local citizens were offended by the article, but they were
also motivated. They were driven to ask themselves if that was the
perception of the city to people outside the community, and if it
was, how that could be addressed and changed.
The end result was that so many RSVP'd to the Boomtown meeting that the venue had to be changed to the Lincoln Park District
Ballroom. When the meeting took place, the discussion quickly veered
to the negative article and discussions of how to make the city a
At that meeting, Doolin served as the moderator with assistance
from Blinn Bates of the YPN, and Craig Lindvahl was on hand.
Throughout the evening, members of the audience openly talked about
what is needed in the city of Lincoln to make it more attractive to
young professionals, people looking to move into Lincoln and those
A wide variety of ideas came out of that meeting. At the end of
the night, Doolin told the group that talk was good, but what was
needed was action. He offered them an opportunity to make lists on
large pieces of paper outlining what needed to be done.
[to top of second column]
Last Wednesday evening, when the group met for the first time
as We Are Lincoln, those same pieces of paper were brought out
again, and the group was encouraged to talk about their lists and
how to accomplish the goals on the lists.
Doolin talked about the CEO program and said that it was a
project he intended to stay involved in, along with the chamber.
In the audience was Lincoln High School Superintendent Robert
Doolin said there have been discussions with Bagby regarding the
CEO program, and the wheels are in motion. He told the group that
the CEO program won't come soon, though, because Lindvahl is
limiting the number of programs he opens each year so as to maintain
the integrity of the program. Opening a few each year allows
Lindvahl to be certain that each new program gets plenty of
attention from him and gets off to a good start.
Doolin concluded that Lindvahl knows there is interest here in
Lincoln for the CEO program, and it will come within the next couple
After Doolin's update, Gowin returned to the lists. He asked
about the need for a single resource for information about Lincoln.
David Doolin then spoke about this.
He told the group that preparing for a single source of
information was going to be a large undertaking, but something that
was needed. He said when searching Lincoln on the Internet, one can
come up with several bits and pieces, but there is no one place that
puts everything together to make a complete picture. He said for
those who are not familiar with the area, having a single location
for everything is very important.
He said he saw the single source as a "hub in the wheel"
resource. He said the idea was to create a site that would bring
searchers in, based on a broad search. Then, once they are at the
site, they would have options of other places to go to see more
specific information about the community.
Patrick Doolin commented on this from the last meeting, saying
this single source was something people seemed to want: a source
where they could track what is going on in the community and also
learn about the various organizations and other points of interest.
This report will continue in Part 2, when the group moves on to
other items on the first set of lists and talks what to do next to
move certain projects forward.
[By NILA SMITH]
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