A Crossroads for Sustainability
Carlisle is a community in the middle of things—geography and tipping point. It sits astride the mighty Pennsylvania turnpike linking Pittsburgh and points west to Philadelphia and the eastern seaboard. Busy Interstate 81 intersects the turnpike just north of Carlisle, connecting it to New York City via I-78 and New England via I-84 as well as to points south in Maryland and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are within easy reach of Carlisle by way of I-83, which bisects the turnpike a few miles east of town. Situated at this junction of major highways, Carlisle is only a few hours away from five major U.S. cities. This central location makes it an attractive location for industries and businesses that want easy access to the millions of consumers that live in these cities and the towns and suburbs in between.
Just east of the Appalachian Mountains and just north of the Mason Dixon line, Carlisle lies between west and east and north and south. It is at the center of Cumberland Valley, an area rich in scenery, trout streams, and agriculture, and the seat of Cumberland County, with its history stretching back to the mid-eighteenth century. A community of some twenty thousand people, Carlisle has its own unique character and potential. It is the home of three large educational institutions: Dickinson College, the U.S. Army War College, and the Dickinson School of Law of Penn State University. These institutions attract students and faculty from all over – not just from the United States, but from all over the world. Carlisle is therefore at a crossroads in this sense also. It is as a diverse community that it must confront the challenges of the 21st century. These challenges are many and they are large, but most of them are related to how Carlisle can continue – at this crossroads in time – to achieve prosperity and economic well being in a way that is sustainable. What is the way forward? What road will take us to sustainable growth—the expansion of our economy combined with respect for the natural environment? It has many of the assets right now to do things right and for its community to enjoy yet another level of prosperity and quality of life. The invitation to adapt the Oberlin model—cooperation between and education institution and a municipality—for sustainable growth and prosperity is a rare opportunity to be considered.
Members of the Carlisle community, including Dickinson are doing just this. Groups are gathering, partnerships are forming, and discussions are taking place on how we can all work together to turn this crossroads into a vision for a sustainable future in Carlisle. This page is dedicated to the transparency in this process, and will serve as a resource for all stakeholders in the process.