2006 Leaders embark on learning
journey By Chancellor James Moeser
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for The Chapel
I leave today with a delegation of 100 community leaders
from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and Orange County
to visit Madison, Wis. We will spend three days there meeting
with our Madison counterparts, exchanging ideas and learning
from their community's experiences with many themes and issues
we have in common.
Like Chapel Hill, Madison is home to a great public research
university, and both are among America's most livable communities.
We share a progressive spirit and know that we can learn much
from one another. In many respects, studying the successes
and challenges of Madison is like looking in a mirror. We
are peers, sharing the same hopes for our communities, citizens
Madison has a medical center, a flourishing downtown, a robust
arts community and strong environmental programs. Demand for
downtown housing is increasing in Madison, and officials there
are working on effective workforce housing initiatives. It
enjoys a national reputation as a forward-thinking community.
This is an excellent opportunity for our leaders to collect
information and better inform our own practices with regard
to important community issues, including campus development,
cooperation with neighborhoods surrounding campus, housing,
sustainability and nurturing the arts.
With these goals in mind, the Community Leadership Council
and the Foundation for a Sustainable Community, under the
auspices of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce,
have carefully planned this Inter-City Visit and Leadership
Conference in Madison. I am grateful for their work bringing
together such a diverse and representative cross-section of
our community. I am gratified by the enthusiastic response
from our area's business leaders, government officials, community
organizations and engaged citizens. This indicates to me how
well we can work together to move our community forward.
Madison's experience developing an off-campus research park,
established in 1985, can be extraordinarily helpful to our
community as we work together to examine the potential for
Carolina North, our proposed living-and-learning campus. I've
appointed a leadership advisory committee to advise my office
and the university's Board of Trustees on the principles to
guide development at Carolina North. We are excited to have
Jack Evans now on board as executive director of Carolina
Madison's research park was state-of-the-art when it opened
and has been recognized nationally for its excellence. Our
objectives for Carolina North might be different, but we can
learn valuable lessons from their experience, including the
park's economic impact on Madison and Wisconsin.
A study last year found that Carolina North could generate
7,500 local jobs and about $48 million in annual tax revenues
by 2020. Madison is in the planning stages for another research
park, and the city is likely grappling with similar issues
to those we in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are facing.
We will look closely at how Madison has managed the enhancement
of its downtown area. We will cover the gamut including transportation
and parking, large downtown gatherings, homelessness, art
and culture, historic preservation, new construction, environmentally
responsible development, and the relationships between local
government, advocacy groups and the university. Zoning and
land-use policies will be discussed with an eye toward providing
affordable housing, sustainability, open spaces, and maintaining
air and water quality.
The Madison Inter-City Visit and Leadership Conference is
the first such trip that I have had the opportunity to join,
but it is by no means unprecedented for our community. Since
1985, leaders from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Carolina have
visited communities across America to collaborate, share expertise
and generate new ideas.
Chancellor Michael Hooker took part in the Ann Arbor trip
in 1997 and came away deeply impressed by the range of arts
facilities there. This was one of the many factors that set
into motion a renewed commitment to arts at Carolina, which
now bears the fruit of a magnificently transformed Memorial
Hall and ambitious plans for an arts common extending from
Franklin Street to Playmakers Theatre, where the campus and
community can come together.Another trip laid the groundwork
for the present day Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.
Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Carolina are deeply intertwined.
Our confluence creates a very special place, beloved by long-time
residents, recent arrivals, students, faculty and visitors
alike. Each entity brings something unique to the table, and
we all rely on each other to help continue the distinctive
and exceptional quality of life in our community. We have
done so well here because we have worked together toward the
common goal of a great place to live, work and prosper. The
vibrant, cultured community we've created here is buoyed,
I believe, by an enduring spirit of learning and discovery.
I am eager for the time and shared learning experience the
Madison trip gives me with the people who help make our area
worthy of being called the Southern part of heaven. I look
forward to building new relationships that will help us take
best advantage of the unique opportunities we have in Orange
James Moeser is chancellor of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. He welcomes readers’ messages