Friday, May 30, 2014
There has been something unusual happening in our town lately.
No, the river is not flowing backwards; Lake Erie has not wandered off. Nor have we been invaded by little green men in UFOs. As noteworthy and momentous as any of those events would be, what has been occurring of late is much more profound and significant.
In order to better appreciate what is happening, a bit of background is needed.
My Lovely Bride and I are long-time residents of our town. While we agree it has been quite some time, there is a minor difference of opinion as to just how long we have lived here. My contention is we arrived in town 3 or 4 days following the cooling of the Earth’s crust. LB insists it was right after primitive vegetation burst forth. However, bear in mind just who the historian in the family is.
The town we found was active, people took part in events and festivals. The swimming pools were open; the Recreation Department had year-round programs available. A new city hall replaced the former old mansion modified to office use. A weekly car cruise in at the memorial to the city’s fallen and veterans.
Our local government, business community, and citizens had a spirit of cooperation, working together to get things done.
Then, due to some rather poor decisions resulting in rather unpleasant outcomes, the Administration changed. A radically different Administration came to City Hall. Slowly, insidiously, the former attitude of “we” was replaced by one of “us vs. them”. What began as minor breaches grew into yawning chasms between the Administration, city departments, business community, and residents.
As the economy went South, in a Draconian effort to be fiscally responsible; everything came to a grinding halt. Relations with the business community soured.
In summation; it was not a joyous time.
However, Change took place once again. A new Administration came to City Hall.
Once again, “we” began to push aside “us vs. them”. Readers may recall the June, 2013 column Swimming Pools. Our city was faced with a summer of no pool. A particular Lovely Councilperson offered to work with anyone willing to explore other avenues; be it fund-raising, corporate sponsorship, grants or what have you. The Administration at that time turned a deaf ear.
Now, as a result of a co-operative effort by the city, the local YMCA, and a new member to our business community (Best Supply); Father’s Day will be the opening of the pool.
The Lake County Captains have held an Easter egg hunt for the children of the town on the ball field this Spring, the first ever. Thanks to the generosity of Peter Carfagna, the team owner, the City’s festival will be held at the stadium this year; another first.
Yet, the most telling was this past weekend. Early on a Saturday morning, throngs of people descended upon City Hall armed with shovels, pruning shears, rakes and work gloves. The grounds around City Hall had been neglected. Flower beds were weed filled, shrubs overgrown.
With tools, donated flowers, shrubs and trees, and a can-do approach, the city property was transformed into beds of colorful annuals, fresh mulch, and trimmed shrubbery. Five hundred new American flags (again, donated) snapped in the fresh breeze along the Boulevard of Flags.
Has our town become perfect, a model city? No; not by any means.
But, we are a better city than before.