places2040 has 17 Partners for Place - community organizations that are committed to planning for a better future for Lancaster County. Why do they care about places2040? Jennifer Mundy from the Hourglass Foundation tells us how planning is important to preserve our community's character.
The Hourglass Foundation, founded in 1997, is a non-partisan nonprofit organization focused on making Lancaster County a better place to live. The Hourglass works to raise awareness, facilitate discussion, and create conditions that allow residents to understand and participate in decisions that impact their quality of life. We believe that strategic growth management is critical to protecting Lancaster County’s unique character and quality of life. The Hourglass works with individuals, groups, organizations, and officials to enable informed decision making on issues affecting the county’s future.
Preserving Lancaster County’s identity requires managing the use of land in thoughtful and productive ways. There are places in the county that are appropriate for growth. Likewise, there are places in the county that should be protected from sprawl and preserved as agricultural land and natural areas.
The Hourglass wants to see county residents prosper. It wants to see the city continue to be a dynamic blend of innovation and vitality. We want the county’s urban places to be successful and safe places to live, work, and play. Farmland, open lands, woodlands, and natural habitats should be preserved. The Conestoga River and other major tributaries of the Susquehanna River should have pure, clean water.
If measures are not taken to maintain Lancaster County’s uniqueness, while also enabling appropriate economic growth, the county’s special identity and sense of place will be lost. Pressures exist to make this place just like any other, and to bury irreplaceable farmland under asphalt, subdivisions, houses, and big box stores. Similar pressures exist to tear down our historic fabric and replace it with automobile-oriented development.
The threats come not only from insensitive, land-consumptive development, but from banking policies and capital restrictions, a lack of investment in transportation alternatives, a fragmented government structure, an unwillingness to spend the resources required for land stewardship and water quality restoration, and a lack of resilient infrastructure.
The Hourglass logo was adopted by our founders to emphasize that time is running out to break down barriers to achieving a vision for Lancaster County’s future. But hope for the future still remains. We believe that solutions can be found in:
• Encouraging multi-municipal planning, cooperative implementation, and civic engagement;
• Renewing a county-wide commitment to directing urban growth to appropriate locations, while accelerating the preservation of both farmland and natural lands;
• Investing in urban infrastructure to create conditions that encourage private investment;
• Utilizing land efficiently by building at densities that create strong, beautiful, and architecturally diverse communities without sprawl;
• Investing in streambank restoration, advanced erosion and nutrient management, innovative stormwater control, and reduction of sediment and chemical pollution;
• Developing and promoting transportation alternatives that reduce automobile dependency, promote health and wellness, and create greater opportunities for mobility; and
• Promoting educational solutions that offer opportunities to create an engaged citizenry and a skilled workforce.
If you support us in championing a bright future for Lancaster County through effective growth management, please consider membership in The Hourglass. For more information, visit www.hourglasslancaster.org or contact our office at 104 West Chestnut St., 3rd floor, Lancaster, PA 17603. Telephone (717) 295-0755 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.