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National Night Out is “an annual event designed to strengthen our communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners.”

What a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors even better!

I’m helping to organize NNO for our neighborhood in downtown Chaska again this year (west of 41).

Hope to see you there!

You’re invited to National Night Out
Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Location: Hickory Park, downtown Chaska
Event Specifics:
Come to Hickory Park, meet your neighbors, let the kids play, and meet Chaska Police, Firefighters and McGruff the Crime Dog.

Want to help with the event? Contact: Greg Swan, gregoryswan@gmail.com, 304-449-GREG

Photos from our 2010 NNO event:
.Greg and McGruff

Marketing!

McGruff on the Seesaw

NNO Neighbors

NNO Neighbors

Ringing the bell

We had a great time at Guardian Angel’s AngelFest fall festival in downtown Chaska this year. While it’s an even put on the school and church, the entire community is invited to attend. The rain stopped just in time, and we had a great day.

Grant was in the parade representing his school:
AngelFest

Here’s a shot of the Little Angels Biker Gang:
AngelFest

The kids loved the carnival:
AngelFest

And the food:
AngelFest

Later, Grant and I took a tour of the old friary and had the opportunity to see the Bibles of Carver County Bible Exhibit, of which we loaned them a 117 year-old family bible:
Guardian Angels Friary Open House

More photos here.

National Night Out is “an annual event designed to strengthen our communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners.”

What a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors even better!

I’m helping to organize NNO for our neighborhood in downtown Chaska this year (west of 41).

Hope to see you there!

You’re invited to National Night Out
Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Location: Hickory Park, downtown Chaska
Event Specifics:
Come to Hickory Park, meet your neighbors, let the kids play, and meet Chaska Police, Firefighters and McGruff the Crime Dog.

Want to help with the event? Contact: Greg Swan, gregoryswan@gmail.com, 304-449-GREG

Hey hey – it’s Chaska River City Days this weekend.

City Square Park is packed full of food vendors, inflatables for the kids, and music and refreshments for the parents. I just love seeing historic downtown Chaska so packed full of people.

It was two years ago this weekend that Jenny and I fell in love with the community, and RCD had a lot to do with it. My parents are in town from Florida, so we’re be taking them tomorrow. Our church, Oasis Church, is again hosting the pork chop on a stick booth. Can’t wait for one of those.

And the parade is Sunday at 1 p.m. The photo is my son from last year. Gotta love a parade with candy…especially when you can lift one or two pieces without them noticing (guilty as charged).

Links to plan your weekend:

Shoot me a text or DM if you come out. Would love to say hello.

Today I was quoted in this Chaska Herald story about Chaska.net today.

Chaska was one of the first U.S. cities to offer city-wide wi-fi, and the articles goes in-depth on the history and technical upgrades that got the network where it is today.

When we moved to town 17 months ago, we were willing and eager to try out the service. Unfortunately, as my comments in the paper indicate, our experience with Chaska.net was it was too slow and not accommodating for a net-savvy household (3 computers, DirecTV, Wii, iPhone — all requiring Web access – often at the same time). We live across the street from a tower and used an external antenna, but if you want to download movies and music, upload pictures or Skype with a friend, you’re not going to want DSL’s kid brother for service.

Beyond speed, you 1) can’t use routers to share the net with devices like DVR and video gaming systems, and 2) can’t use a router to have more than one compute online at once. These are total deal breakers.

Okay, so why does it suck so badly? I thought the article’s history lede summed it up nicely:
Rewind to 2004 – that was before Twitter, back when Facebook was a fledgling operation that few had heard of, and when saying you connected to the Internet using dial-up didn’t get you laughed out of the room.

Okay, so we’re at 2010 and cable internet is adequate for a digital native’s needs. Rather than upgrade all the wi-fi antenna towers, let’s think out six years from now. My idea? Take all that fiber aroudn town and hard wire the fiber direct to every home. Depending on the infrastructure, it could be as fast as 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream and carry hundreds of HD TV channels to every home…like Verizon’s FiOS (full disclosure: I used to do PR for Verizon FiOS, and they are still a client of my employer).

You can’t get FiOS in Minnesota, but I’d love to see civic leaders exhibit the thought leadership that made Chaska a municipal case study for city-wide wi-fi and build the next generation of online infrastructure to handle the bandwidth of technologies and social applications of the future we’ve never considered.

Meanwhile, I want to give major kudos to the Herald for building and maintaining a Facebook community where it leads discussions and adds value that leads to reporting like this story. A comment I left in December was repurposed — with my permission — for the story. Great stuff.

I’m extremely passionate about downtown Chaska, its businesses and residents. Just last night I got into a 15 minute conversation with Brett, the owner of Tommy’s Malt Shop, about the signage requirements for downtown businesses, the parking issue and lack of riverfront development.

This month I was thrilled to be asked to join Chaska’s Downtown Master Plan Task Force, and I’m happy to report it was approved by the City Council Monday night.

From the Chaska Herald:

Fifteen members of the Downtown Master Plan Task Force were appointed Monday night. The task force will “provide guidance and recommendations to the city as it prepares the downtown master plan.” The group is expected to meet six to eight times over the next eight months.

Following the Dec. 21 kick-off meeting, city staff solicited interest from various stakeholder groups.

The task force members are: Rick Ford (representing the City Council and the Downtown Business Council), Mike Huang (Planning Commission and Commitment to Community), Debbie Boe (Heritage Preservation Committee), Dave Roan (Parks, Arts and Recreation Board), Kevin Norby (Commitment to Community and Downtown Business Council), Dan Keyport (Downtown Business Council and Planning Commission), Adella Pollack (Human Rights Commission and downtown resident), Greg Swan (downtown resident), Brian Betlock (resident), Stacey Harding (resident), Jim Hornecker (development community), John Prodzinski (Chaska business – Ridgeview Medical), Mike Senden (downtown institutions – Auburn Manor), Gary Van Eyll (faith-based community – Guardian Angels), Bob Roepke (faith-based community – St. John’s).

Let the fun begin!

p.s. If you’re interested in what we’ll be working on, here’s a 19 page concept brief on Chaska’s Downtown Revitalization Goals (pdf)