How many times have you heard the phrase, "Boy, I just don't know about this town" or "I can't believe Council/the Board/the Mayor did that, what were they thinking?" I know I've heard it plenty of times in my stay here in the village. Everyone certainly has an opinion. That's actually a good thing. It shows that there is some level of understanding, or at least a desire to have some level of understanding, even if its based on one side of the story. We all have our opinions upon what has happened in the past and what is currently happening in the village, schools, Volunteer Fire Department, Hot Stove teams, and Police Department. Very few people have problems voicing that opinion either. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but some folks are voicing said opinions at the Windham TalkForum Message Board. Join in, its fun, even though you want to knock your head into a wall after reading all of the drive-by guest (troll) postings.
One thing that we are desperately short of is ideas. Oh sure, the pat answer is that "we need more business", but how exactly should we draw those business to the village? Do we think that simply because we want them here, they'll magically come calling? Many people seem to be in agreement that "Council needs to draw manufacturing jobs to the area." Perhaps the magic answer will suddenly be revealed to one of the six from on high in a moment of epiphany. It hasn't seemed to happen yet though.
While we all wait for someone to have a vision, let's consider a few things.
1. City Council needs to take it upon themselves, or delegate the responsibility to a group of people of their selection who will look directly into the situation of "why we are where we are". Council certainly already has enough on their plate concerning day to day business, dealing with the Township Trustees, and the various propblems that arise during the course of running a village. There is no reason for them to compound their work by adding this responsibility to theirs. This new group would be made up of people who earnestly desire the growth of every part of Windham, and not simply one part (education, job opportunities, housing contracts, and the like).
This group would be charged with considering all factors of the community, including infrastructure, the working people, the education level of those who work, business sites, competition, the political situation, life styles of village citizens. In looking at all of these factors, they should be able to come to some conclusions about a direction to go in the village.
The group should also be voluntary. It should be made up of people who sincerely want the village to grow, for the good of the village, and not their own selves. As we said before, many are willing to offer their opinions, but stepping up to the plate and doing something is another matter entirely.
2. We need to avoid the "poor me" attitude that is so easy to fall into. Everyone has problems. Did you know that there is more Federal help available to rural areas than for urban areas? We can tap into that, if someone steps up and finds out exactly what is available.
We need to rid ourselves of the "us versus them" mentality and political nonsense. Blustering from either side always ends badly.
3. We need to "think globally, and act locally." We have the entire world at our doorstep through the Internet, or at least our keyboards as it were. The only thing that can restrict us from reaching out somehow is ourselves.
Certainly these are just ideas. Suggestions of where one mind thinks that could lead in a positive direction. You have many more ideas, perhaps better ones. Voice those opinions, and work to make them a reality. Build a consensus by convincing people of your stand, and why it is the right thing to do. People are willing and ready to listen.