Center Ground was started by four friends who lived and worked on the Etiopia sim, one of the premier sustainable living sims in Second Life. The four, Paolo Rousselot, Tatia Andel, Flower Ninetails, and Luchenpur Darwin had varied interests and focuses that worked well for launching the new group and sim. Paolo the longest resident of the Han Loso, mainland region, had established a showroom for his “Heatsavers” 1st life business, and also had a popular music venue, “Blues by the Lake.” One of the first things Paolo took on was working with Lindens public works group to get the level of the water in the deep well raised to the point that we now have Mystery Lake. The body of water Center Ground hugs. And at the groups most expansive, the lake Center Ground surrounded.
Tatia Andel worked diligently to direct the group’s acquisition of land and also kept the groups focus on sustainable issues. Tatia and Paolo were the chief builders of the group and gave the land a distinct look admired by many of its visitors. Tatia whose first life background of environmental policy, informed her take on SL. Tatia designed various habitats and displays in Center Ground to inform everyone of climate change, growing local, water and land conservation.
While Flower Ninetails was not as active as the others, her input and dedication to the group was always evident. Flower preferred a quite green outpost in meadow grass with a campfire as opposed to the larger builds of the others.
Luchenpur Darwin’s original reason for coming to SL was to build a virtual version of a 1st life project. By the time the group was thinking about forming, Darwin had ceded building to those much more skillful than himself, and in place took on the administration of the group and land, a position he continues to hold.
Like many groups and businesses the effects of the great Recession of 2008 were felt by the Center Ground group as well. As the economy slowed, the four found their budgets squeezed and in some cases first life positions in jeopardy. With these pressures the group decided to downsize, as the monthly Tiers were looming. The group went from a full sim and within a period of months, down to an eighth of a sim at its lowest. Luckily there was a friendly buyer that came on the scene. The buyer took over the Center Ground land with the agreement that if he wanted to sell, the Center Ground group would get first right of refusal.
A year later Luchenpur and Tatia bought back enough land to bring the groups holdings to cover nearly half a sim. This is the reason some of the present sections have names such as Firebird and Phoenix. Although three of the founders are no long active in the present iteration of Center Ground, their guiding principles are still intact. The expansions into Arts and Culture, a thriving business district, and sustainable living apartments insure a continued life for the Center Ground group. Center Ground is still thriving, thanks to the contributions of Share Genesis Chief Builder , Judilynn India curator and owner of “The Art Cafe”, and Acuminous Watanabe who holds a successful weekly Mars/Venus live stream discussion group “Digital Alchemy” here.