Keene is a unique community that residents are proud to call home. Although the conveniences and attractions of large metropolitan areas are close at hand, the community maintains a solidly residential working-class character, complemented by a landscape of rural areas, farms and open space. The heart of the community is its historic and vibrant downtown core. In an age when many communities are losing their “sense of place,” Keene has a firm sense of its identity, built on a foundation of the past and a clear vision of the future.

Each generation of Keene residents has left its mark on the community and helped make it the place it is today. Through this plan, today’s generation of residents have the chance to write new pages in the community’s history. This responsibility and privilege cannot be underestimated, nor can the ability of residents to rise to the occasion. Time and again, they have demonstrated a commitment to the community’s high quality of life and unique character through hard work and dedication.

This process can best be described as the imperfect art of “place making.” At the heart of this is a community’s collective ability to address tough questions that often are without simple answers. Recognizing that nearly every solution has a trade-off, the community has nonetheless continually embraced the future through its proactive planning efforts.

The community conversation about what creates a sustainable community may be the biggest legacy of all. Throughout this project, participants pointed to each other – the people of Keene and the Monadnock Region – as the community’s single greatest attribute. By working together to solve common problems and shared opportunities, residents have not only invested in the community, but in themselves. Looking ahead, the implementation of the Comprehensive Master Plan will provide a new opportunity for residents to engage with one another and chart the course for the future of the region and the community.

Together, we move forward from here toward a sustainable community.