Wanting More than Rural Charm

Tyra Penn, Director of Planning & Development 

Tyra Penn has taken her experiences as a performing artist and radio personality and utilized them well in advocating for the rural town of Thompson, CT.

Tyra is the Planning and Development Director for this northeastern-most municipality of Connecticut. Historically an agricultural community with several small but robust mill villages, Thompson’s challenges are the same as faced by a multiplicity of communities throughout the United States.

Externally challenged by limited or misallocated, top-down resources, by geography (think being in one state but being influenced by another’s urban center) and by the differences in socio-economics Thompson also faces internal challenges….. just how and who defines what the next generation will experience in our small rural towns.  Who there will benefit from our ‘modern’ economy?

Tyra’s current projects, some of which we touch upon in this episode include a small-mixed use development taking advantage of  local assets such as historic property, natural environment and local interest.  This project includes an AG-based incubator intentionally designed to take advantage of local human assetts and interest.

We’re all working hard to make our communiteis better, more resilient, more responsive to our neighbors needs.  Tyra is working on  her community and we all hope this podcast episode emboldens you to take the next step for YOUR town.

 Find out more about Tyra’s other projects

Your Town, Built Stronger

by SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' Podcast | Strong Towns founder Chuck Marohn

No Apology for Urban Anthropology

by SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' Podcast | Morgan Von Prelle Pecelli, Ph.D

M the Media Project

Latest in Community Development & Planning

Reap What You Sow

by SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' | Nat'l Center for Economic Gardening Founder Chris Gibbons


by Scott J. Graves | Gardner Iron: Dispatches from the Arena

Building a Town for a New Era

by SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' Podcast | Planner Alex Wade

Welcome to the home of SMG’s ‘Are We Here Yet?’ Podcast.  We seek to produce vibrant storytelling from the entrepreneurs, creative-class warriors and dynamic citizens that collectively tell the story of modern-day America.

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About our Hosts:

Scott M. Graves is the founder of SMGraves Creative Enterprises.  Most recently he was executive director of the Wachusett Business Incubator where the SMG team experimented with various programming to overcome the meaningless ‘ribbon cutting’ experiences so synonymous with much of our nation’s  well-intentioned economic development.   He is known for a steadfast resolve for intellectual rigor and business strategy.  Nothing makes Scott feel more fulfilled than to help other develop their own unique creativity which leads to fulfillment in work and life.  His team is currently partnering with The Worcshop, the east coasts largest industrial makerspace to develop the Worc-It Business Lab for incubating new business.  

An entrepreneur in his own right, Scott previously operated the former Smash Music. Along with ImageIdentity’s David Lubelczyk their team developed Leadership Candidates Program for immersive support of new enterprise and Business Triage, a direct response to the issues now exacerbated for small businesses since the spread of Covid-19.    

Cameron McLeod is the Producer of the ‘Are We Here Yet? Podcast. Since his high school days he has been behind the scenes of multiple productions ranging from directing live football games to filming short movies. Using his musical prowess and his technical skills gained from working as an IT professional, Cameron taught himself what it takes to mix and produce music of his own creation. To this day, he strives to better these skills whenever he can.
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