Going through downtown Littleton, it’s easy to think back to when the town was founded 150 years ago. It has arguably aged gracefully, adapting to modern technology and culture with speed. On Wednesday night, November 11, residents of Littleton and the surrounding area gathered at the Littleton Historical Museum to think forward and consider the future of the city of Littleton in the One-Day Workshop version of the Littleton Citizens’ Academy. Put on through the Transit Alliance, “an apolitical advocacy group”, and hosted by Littleton Mayor Phil Cernanec, the four hour session aimed to educate and invite residents to get involved with the changes occurring in the community.
“Our goal is to educate people about the inevitability of transit right now, but also all of the great opportunities it brings,” said program coordinator Jamie Perkins. “We talk a lot about transit-oriented development, where there’s a place where we have an opportunity to develop, making it a fruitful space for the community.”
Its headlining topic regarded the Littleton Mineral Station Area Master Plan, a project that, while still in the planning stages, aims to integrate the two RTD stations into the surrounding community with more intention than they exist now. Participants aided this project by discussing not only what makes Littleton a great city- which it is, according to D.C. based financial analyst, who ranked it second among 1,268 cities across the country- but also what it should hope to look like in the future. However, the night was not a debate on what the development project should be; rather, it was a conversation about changes that should and could be made in Littleton to meet its needs and its potential.
“The big goal is to get more people involved, give them a voice and a process that’s starting here for the city,” said executive director Kathleen Osher. “[Transit Alliance is] a regional organization. Our interest is bringing a sense of purpose and process for development of the station.
The Workshop certainly did that, as was evident by the end of the night. Participants made personal action plans for how they will implement a change they can make in the community. Plans varied from educating family members about the various regional transit, to involving the community more with the Depot Art Gallery and its community, to advocating for better public restroom and water facilities. Thanks to the variation in age and location of the participants, there emerged a significant diversity of ideas in the room. However, one age group appeared to be less represented than others: that of the Millenial generation.
“We aim for a diverse spectrum and we want young people in the room, especially because we know that fewer and fewer young people are buying cars or even getting driver’s licenses, and you [young people] need to be active in your community too,” said Perkins.
However, this is not the only opportunity that the Littleton community can get involved. Residents of all ages are invited to apply for the Transit Alliance Citizens’ Academy. There are two seven-week sessions a year, and the application time for the spring session is approaching. For more information, go to transitalliance.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.