Signs of optimism beginning to spread

Recently a friend waxed philosophically about what it is to be an entrepreneur.

As I read it I could relate. I spent the better part of three decades in business for myself or as the manager of a small business. The sad truth is some small businesses will make it through this crisis and others will not.

Small business owners are a unique group of resilient people willing to work their tails off to keep the doors open. I encourage all of our small business friends to remember the words of Roy T. Bennett, “Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”

Don’t worry; you know I will loop back to this in a few, but until then I hope you enjoy some of what this past week looked like from the mayor’s seat.

It saw pre-construction meetings on major projects like runway 5-23 at the airport and a smaller in-house project in the downtown area.

On the airport project we heard of the plans to move forward and looked at things like schedule and availability of materials. Even with all the potential issues, we still have deadlines to meet.

On the smaller in-house project we are attempting (a first in my time) a tag team project that will pull a few workers from WPC, DPW, and Park and Recreation to complete the work needed.

This approach will clear up some eyesores and not leave any one department down an entire crew. It has also helped establish a line of communication between the workers and will help tear down walls from the past between departments. #cityteam was coined by one of the crew members who will be working on this project.

This week we saw the arrival of our new automated trash truck. If you see Pete in the all white truck give him a wave. Now nothing new comes without some updates. The new truck has a slightly different arm that seems to be beefier than the old arms and should last longer. It does mean, though, that we will have to remind citizens not to put their trash can as close to other items like cars and poles as they may be used to. Not a new change, but one that some, including myself, will probably need a reminder on.

How do you celebrate a birthday during a pandemic?

Seems the current normal is to have a parade. This week saw a few for the likes of Art Juergens celebrating 74 and Cliff Sierp celebrating his 100th. While I didn’t get to participate in Juergy’s, I did get to join in on Cliff’s. Thank you to everyone who is trying to make birthdays special. Happy birthday to everyone who celebrated last week.

There you go mix in a radio interview, Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, COVID-19 teleconferences, interviews, plan commission meetings, all while trying to secure any funding we can, you have my week in review.

Before I go I want to share something that happened between Thursday and Friday this week. On Thursday the conversations were what they have been for weeks. They are not negative, but they do lack an optimism for the future. Friday though something changed, and it was noticeable.

Several conversations from conference calls to board meetings all had an optimistic tone to them.

I am a fairly positive person most of the time, but many times over the last few weeks I have felt like I was the only one in many conversations trying to look to a better tomorrow. I can now say that I hear it in others’ voices when we speak.

Small business friends, have faith and hang on. We will rebound and this storm will make us stronger than ever before. It will not be easy, but we live in a community that will support you when the doors reopen. I don’t know the exact date due to so many variables, but it is coming.

William Faulkner said, “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Business owners, you did not leave the jobs you had before starting your business without that courage to lose sight of the shore. I believe with all my heart the shore is starting to be visible again, and I hope you see it too. Citizens, reach out now and make that purchase if you can so you can pick it up when the time comes.

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