I always thought it would be fun to be a consultant. To meet with and discuss with anyone about anything, anytime, anywhere would be highly rewarding.

And I would be excellent at it too. It is a lot like what I do here every week. Plus, I hear it pays well, which is good.

Consulting is nothing more than giving opinions, straightening folks out on the errors of their ways and then telling them what to do. This fits my skill set to a tee.

But lately I’ve been thinking about becoming a futurist. What, you don’t know what futurists do? Well, my dears, let me tell you.

It is another line of work just as perfect for those of us who are expert at making sweeping predictions based on gut feelings and prevailing winds.

For instance, “wait until your father gets home” is short term futurism your mother may have practiced when you were young.

Futurists also make good money for what is a form of fortune telling without the tea leaves, tarot cards or Ouija boards, although there may be higher math and sciences involved.

Futurists look into the future by spotting trends then making “what could be” predictions for “one of these days.”

And who’s going to be around to call them on a missed diagnosis of future events? When’s the last time you heard anyone bad mouth Nostradamus?

Okay, so let’s test my skills as a futurist by applying them to a local trend many of us are well aware.

Dateline, Chagrin Falls, sometime in the future.

The first thing we notice is everyone who lives in this place is about the same age, race and all occupy an upper tax bracket. Each of these families includes 2.5 children and they all live in homes of no less than 3,000 square feet.

Gone are most of the gracious old places that lined leaf-canopied streets. Gone are the retirees and elderly moving on to the next stage of life and the young people just starting out.

Here’s what happened instead.

Not all retirees fled for warmer climes. As empty nesters, they sold their family homes to provide for their golden years. The old folks left when their knees, hips and spines could no longer manage stairs. They could not stay in the village because single story homes are hen’s tooth rare in Chagrin Falls.

Both retirees and elderly sold their homes to those who really wanted to live in a new house not the old homes they purchased. And so, it was.

As a futurist studying local trends, it is clear the onset of Chagrin Falls as Vanillaville lies at the doorstep of planners who spent more time counting angels on the head of a pin than assuming the mantle of Visionary which, after all, is what planners are supposed to be.

Visionaries would accept that a homogeneous village creates vitality and character and that these are positive characteristics. Then they would go about planning to keep it that way for whatever it takes.

Visionaries as planners would seek out and encourage the sort of development that might bring less profit (gasp) to the land owner and developer but one that serves the greater good (gasp) of the community.

Visionaries do not wait for market trends to dictate the future of a place worth keeping for what it was and has been.

Instead of “high end condos”– which figure to be the destiny of the Spillway property – why not a mid-range condo development that answers the needs of people who made the town what it is and would love to stay there?

In the parlance of political correctness, these are “the differently wealthy” folks who occupy the middle class and the mobility impaired elderly who would like to stay put.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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