Lafayette: Diverse neighborhoods, stronger schools

I have a mantra: “People don’t buy a house until they’ve first bought into a community’s quality of life.” That’s a fairly apt saying, given that I work for 4,000 Realtors. Implicit in the mantra is the notion that metropolitan Richmond must pursue excellence in our quality of life, or we’ll lose out to regional competitors. Easier said than done … and “excellence” is in the eye of the beholder.

So here’s my vision: To achieve excellence, we must create communities of opportunity. A community of opportunity boasts a variety of attractive, affordable housing. The children in these neighborhoods attend exceptional schools; and their parents hold good jobs with viable wages in proximity to their homes. Housing and jobs are connected by a transportation system that meets the needs of all, not just those citizens who own vehicles. We have some of these communities, but they are not accessible to all. Until everyone has the opportunity to flourish (not all will, but the opportunity must be there), we will not inhabit the most vibrant, talented and economically competitive region possible. As long as we fall short, we all lose — not just those who live with little, but even the most affluent, educated and privileged among us.