Monday, November 1, 2010
Once again, I am going back to the well. With this blog post, I want to talk about investments we make in our community. Some of these investments are easier to quantify (tax dollars), and some are more vague (time we spend supporting community events).
The past two Thursday night's I attended the Citizen's Leadership Academy. These 5 sessions co-hosted by the City Manager's office and the Chamber of Commerce, helped educate 20+ members of the public on the outreach activities the public has as well as the basics of operating the municipal organization known as the City of Dover. The second session had a good feedback component and it was interesting hear what the participants had learned and what they want to see us work harder at teaching in future sessions. One thing I heard loud and clear is that people want to know more. People want to be more involved.
One way I think we can do this is through continued use of multimedia and through reinforcing actions of traditional methods, such as newsletters, and concrete face time. This face time could be in the form of Open Houses or could be by virtue of inviting the public to come into offices when they don't need to be here (registering a car, swing on by our office and say hi).
Other forms of community investment include attending things like the Zombie Walk this past Saturday. My wife and son donned costumes and attended the walk, while I sat on the sidelines. What a great event. By my count there were 100 or so walkers on Central Ave - not Portsmouth Halloween parade numbers, but great still. This is another sign that Dover is changing and that community members are coming out for those events that matter to them.
This year alone we have seen demonstrable increases in attendance at Apple Harvest Day, the Cochecho Arts Festival, the Fourth of July event and other such community activities. I hope this continues, because a sign of a vibrant and healthy community is the number of residents that come out for these intangible events.
Other sources of involvement include taking ownership of your neighborhood park, as the Park Street neighborhood did this year (drive by and see what the Rotary Club of Dover and Park St group has accomplished), as have the Friends of Willand Pond. You don't need to wait for government to get you involved, reach out and grab the opportunity, or better yet, grab your neighbor and make an opportunity exist.
The point here (in case I haven't been blunt enough) is next time you see an opportunity to get involved, take it. Want to be a voice? Come to a public meeting (dates are listed on the front page of the City's web site www.dover.nh.gov) Want to show support for an event, but not speak loudly, than attend the holiday parade, or any number of other events; but be involved.
Finally, be involved on November 2nd and vote for your voice in County, State and Federal government.