Civic engagement is important. It offers the individual an opportunity to interact with his or her neighbors, to help build (or renew) a sense of community.
Community can provide people with a feeling of belonging…or othering. It is a source of identity. It is what ends the phrase that begins with “We are…”
Beyond the declarative, there are the interrogatives. Are we simply people who live within close proximity or are we something more? What can we accomplish if we talk honestly about our fears and hopes about our common home? What can happen if we reason together?
In Columbia, Maryland, service on a village board is one way to help shape programs and policies that impact our community. There are some talented, thoughtful and caring people who serve on these boards. I am glad they are my neighbors.
Last May, when there was a vacancy on my local village board, in Wilde Lake, I decided to apply for a position. I wanted to become more involved in my local community. I thought I could do some good. I was delighted to be appointed.
Thus far in the 2013 – 2014 term, we have worked on some important issues. We have advocated for our residents and property-owners during a time marked by transition. As anyone who visits our village center knows, revitalization is well underway. Soon there will be new homes filled with new neighbors, all just a short distance from neighbors who have lived in Wilde Lake for years, sometimes decades. Our merchants – those established and those yet to open their doors – will also help shape the latest evolution of our village. This is a time for great optimism…for the progress-minded.
I hope to continue playing a role in these developments. It just won’t be as a member of the Wilde Lake Village Board in the 2014 – 2015 term.
Between existing and emerging obligations, I did the math and realized I couldn’t dedicate the amount of hours necessary to do the position right.
Another choice. A tough one, but it feels like the correct one.
I will fulfill the responsibilities of my position for the remainder of the current term.
I hope the next Board thinks very carefully about our community…not just the past, which is important to know, but also the present and future. For the next Board, I hope there is a commitment to a pioneering spirit, a willingness to consider bold new ideas to help ensure the vitality of Columbia, and a rededication to the familiar principle that undergirds our larger Howard County community: Choose Civility.
Stay tuned, as more will follow.