Twenty-nine people attended in person and another 25 on its future on Thursday. Committees were formed and additional Facebook Live as Langford held a public gathering to talk about meetings planned.
Residents Talk About Future
Over 50 people gathered on Thursday evening to talk about Langford’s future.
Glacial Lakes Area Development (GLAD), a team of local leaders, and Dakota Resources community coach, Paula Jensen, hosted Langford Area’s first community gathering. The purpose of the session was five-fold: to share what the community leadership team had experienced so far; celebrate the community’s successes; host conversations that give everyone a voice in the process; collaboratively name the priorities that can help Langford Area thrive in the next 12 months; and provide opportunities for residents to become engaged in shaping Langford Area’s future.
A total of 29 people in person and 25 people on Facebook Live shared their answers to the question, “What would it look like if Langford Area was thriving?”
Jensen explained to attendees what it means to thrive.
“Often communities believe that if they just grow population, grow the number of jobs, grow businesses, or grow housing they will be successful. The truth is - just growing isn’t the answer.
“To grow means to become bigger. Yet, we love our small schools and safety of our small town. We also value the supportive culture that only comes from a small town environment. Every community’s definition of thriving is a little different and as more people become involved in creating the solutions, thriving does occur.”
The community conversation revolved around three questions 1) What successes should we be celebrating right now 2) What would it look like if Langford Area were thriving? And 3) How might we create this thriving Langford? Some of the items that the group brought forward to celebrate were local infrastructure improvements, a healthy school district, and supporting our youth and young families moving back. Brandon Alberts is one of those locals that has returned back to Langford with his family, built a home, volunteers with local youth and supports the community overall.
“We came back to be close to family and the family farm and to raise our kids in a farming environment and lifestyle,” said Alberts. “A big thing was also the support of the Langford community. We knew that whatever we or our kids were doing that the community would be behind us.”
Alberts pointed to housing as one of the biggest challenges.
“To build a house in a small town you really have to want to do it. It’s a difficult task,” Alberts added. “One thing the community can do is work together to provide some housing options for people.
“Inspiring entrepreneurship is another thing that can help the community thrive. It takes a community to really support those individuals and businesses, and when they thrive it helps the community thrive.
“We also need to make sure that throughout our school and as parents we don’t make our children believe that they have to grow up, go to eight years of school, and move to a big city to be successful,” concluded Alberts. “There are lots of ways to be successful right here.”
The conversation process helped those in attendance discover that a thriving Langford Area needs to have residents that are actively engaged, collaborating to support local businesses, and making housing solutions a priority.
As the conversations came to a close four teams were named to begin creating solutions around the issues of 1) community amenities 2) fun for all ages 3) land options and 4) available housing options.
The group also heard from Pat Gallagher with the South Dakota Community Foundation and Vollie Ann Williams, representing the Langford Area Community Foundation. These two organizations can provide grant funding to carry out some of the priorities named during the community gathering.
Anyone wishing to be involved with any of these teams should share your contact information with Paula Jensen by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 605- 228-5963. The teams will meet again in about four weeks to get organized and make a plan for moving forward.