College Park Dreaming

I finally finished reading the last two editions of our Community Paper and was captivated by August’s “On the Street” question: What’s missing on Edgewater Drive? The question grabbed hold of me, making me think of “what-ifs” for our community as a whole. I actually had trouble sleeping that night with the energy the question created. Dreams and ideas have a way of doing that—arousing emotion, prompting excitement, pouring nourishing possibilities upon dry land, provoking action. Whether they come true anytime soon or evolve along the way isn’t the point. Your dreams keep you enlivened, stirred, anticipating and seeing hope beyond the here and now. They keep you moving forward. They strengthen soul and uplift reality to a higher potential. Dreams feed you, stretching what is into what can be. We will only benefit by dreaming more. I loved that our paper encouraged this.

So that night I dreamt dreams (while awake) for our dear College Park, whispering my own little “what-ifs” and “why-nots” into the night air. Here are just a few:

1) What if we created an enchanting outdoor permanent dance area and regularly scheduled good old-fashioned community dances? The structure could be built of weathered pine flooring, big enough for a band, with large-bulb lights strung back and forth across the middle, and a brick surround for cafe tables and slatted iron chairs. I think of a French village we visited last summer that called young and old to their little center to celebrate harvesting cantaloupes. We danced, laughed, and ate melon under the stars until well after the church bells tolled midnight. It was unforgettable. I think Ivanhoe Plaza might be perfect, or even the far open end of Dartmouth Park.

(2) How about a College Park Community Theater? I mean “community” in the most specific sense of the word. The cast and crew would comprise our very own school teachers, business owners, parents, teens, ministers and grocery store baggers who live or work within the 32804 zip code. Imagine one or two productions a year performed outdoors on a cool evening, or in the new Edgewater High auditorium, with all proceeds going to charity and/or the improvement of College Park.

(3) Wouldn’t it be fun to have a small but charming bookstore lined with floor-to-ceiling bookcases and smelling of old leather, with squeaky wooden floors? A sliding ladder would be required to reach the top shelves. Forgotten titles, speciality gifts and dark hot chocolate to drink while perusing the pages would be just a start to this dream.

(4) How about creating additional quiet, quaint corners and gardens of College Park for relaxing, reading, visiting or even intimate parties? More places like the courtyard next to Bijou’s Boutique and the gated park off Bryn Mawr could be designed for delight, reflection and savoring life’s little moments. The more out-of-the-way, mysterious and aged-looking, the better.

I also dream of an old-fashioned ice cream shop (serving Publix-brand ice cream and real Italian gelato), a fountain (for wished-on pennies and splashing children), a bike-bus for kids (to ride to school safely and with others), a one-stop-volunteer-shop (connecting volunteers with needs in our neighborhoods, coordinating efforts with our schools, churches and community organizations) and a dream-team of all ages (for the encouragement and pursuit of more dreaming)…

These are a few dreams dreamt that night, a few smiles smiled at “what-ifs.” But I wonder… could they become more? If one of these resonates with you, let me know, and let’s dare together to find out!

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