Guest Post: DIY Peoria

RandonGuest Post by: Randon Gettys

There are Peorians who believe that urban redevelopment is more valuable than turning a cornfield into a strip mall. There are Peorians who dare to assert that walking is a legitimate form of transportation. There are Peorians who understand that city maps have a Z-axis.

I am one such Peorian. My name is Randon. I was born at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. I attended high school in Peoria. I spent my early adulthood east of the river but my girlfriend, Abby, and I have recently moved into Peoria proper and we like it here. We are happy. We struggle at times, but we embrace the struggle. We have high standards but low income.  And, of course, we blog about it.

Living in Peoria has immediately enhanced my perception of the use and misuse of space. Living here has broadened the scope of my perception of population demographics. And living here has heightened my curiosity for the historical context of Peoria’s evolution.

I’m a thinker and I think you might be too if you’re reading this. It is common for curious people to spend a substantial amount of time dwelling on the question Why? But because of the subjective (and therefore infinite) nature of “answers” it eventually becomes unfulfilling to continue asking Why? Those who have the gumption to take the next step become concerned with another question.

As a result of my training as a sociologist I perpetually seek patterns. Observation and experience have taught me that the people who effect real change are the ones who have dedicated themselves to answering the question How?

Answering the question How? is not as much about philosophy as it is simply about doing. The following is an over-simplification of some patterns I’ve observed in the people who have made waves in the sea of community:

1. MAKE AN EFFORT – start doing. Do Something. Do Anything. The world has enough hack philosophers. It needs more doers. Being a doer is what transforms a person from being interested into someone who is interesting. Planning comes later, when organization is necessary.

2. NETWORK – when a doer makes enough noise while he or she is working, they begin to get noticed. Then, like-minded people who are also making an effort may approach the doer to join forces. This the time for planning. Before you know it, you will have begun a movement. Or, if a movement you do not know about already exists, networking is how you will discover it.

3. ALWAYS BE WORKING – there is no such thing as overnight success. There is preparation, execution, and adaptation. Work is a process. Struggles are a part of the process. Ambitious people want to be something, but the ones who become successful are the ones who do something.

Our city has good bones. There is opportunity here and the timing feels right. Stay positive. And get to work!

You can also read more of what Randon is working on in Peoria at his blog Class Without Cash and follow him on Twitter @MisterRandon


I found it ironic that when I would post an open call  for people in the Peoria area who would like to contribute a few thoughts on my blog because I have gotten too busy to keep up with it that this would come back.

After only knowing Randon, and his girlfriend Abby from their blog and the Twitter-verse, we finally had a chance to meet offline and talk about what we see the future of Peoria looking like.

We all came to the conclusion that we have all talked about it for so long, and now was the time to do something about it. I definitely look forward to the opportunity of collaborating with such insightful and determined people.



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