Open Doors, Build Bridges

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Open Doors, Build Bridges –

I’ve been thinking about how to start a community conversation and what the topics of interest are. My goal is to open doors and build bridges community-wide.

I would like to discuss projects under consideration earlier in the process and connect citizens who can contribute good ideas to improve the outcomes. The upside is communication is useful so others can plan where to make complementary investments. The downside is most observers are not comfortable with the time it takes to complete the necessary planning and it becomes fertile ground for rumors about a project’s demise.

I also want to reach the people in our community so they will have a voice at the table when priorities are set, not after the commitments are made. Inviting input means we need to have a safe place to express your views, even when someone disagrees; to create a safe place requires civility and respect for each other. We are a community, living in the same footprint, but we want very different things.


So, to become more effective, a civic lesson is in order. Excelsior Springs is a third class city operating under the council-Manager form of government. Actually Excelsior Springs is the first city in Missouri to adopt this form of government (1921). We are responsible for local governmental services in compliance with state and federal regulations. Society demands order, and ordinances are developed at the local level to promote liberty. Services are developed based on the expressed needs of the members of our community.

In 1921, Excelsior Springs was considered by some to be a cosmopolitan city, having operated a strong tourist/healthcare industry for 40 years, the community wanted a professional manager in place. Forty years later, 1961, much in our world had changed, and our community’s economic base changed as well. Again, more than forty years have passed (2018), and some of the passing years have not been kind, many more years have been spent rebuilding our community. I’m pleased to be a part of the community and want to share my observations about some very interesting changes. Changes I think define the success we are enjoying today.

  1. Volunteerism is growing a tourist industry that provides a “quality of life” most towns struggle to find and demands we want more for ourselves. This current excitement and culture of fun is only possible due to the positive spirit brought by those who continue to grow their community.
  2. There is a schedule of events and activities to choose from that brings people to town for fun and makes it difficult to leave town to visit friends, who I miss very much.
  3. Social media provides Instant communication and feedback that is both good and bad. Good to share information to many, bad to read so much misinformation. It drives me to want to create opportunities for people to inform themselves and learn how to seek out what is true in the process, and how to become more involved in their community.