Community involvement can make city a better place

My wife hates it when I say I am still just Matt. Not that she thinks that I am someone special, but more because she thinks it allows people to underestimate how hard I work to continue to learn and grow.

Thanks to Kenny Sharer for encouraging me to get involved in my community as a teenager. Because of that encouragement, I have served on boards and committees not for the praise but for the chance to make our area a better place. Before I dive too deep down this rabbit hole, let me tell you about my week.

Plans of old and plans of new fill this week. I had a chance to visit One Chamber Square as it nears completion. Early in the year, it was estimated to be finished a few days ago. After some snags, it has been pushed out to next month, but is starting to look good.

When I say some snags, I mean things like a crew member being activated in the National Guard, the home county of the construction company being placed on a travel warning and materials that came out of Michigan and Wisconsin.

For all they have faced during this project, I believe they want to see it completed as much as we do. Musical features for the kids, seating areas for the adults and a general stay awhile feel will make it a good addition to the downtown area.

Speaking of plans, we started the process to develop our strategic plan for Seymour. The list of individuals who will be contacted is long, but it is well worth it to get everyone’s thoughts on paper and put into a living document that we can refer back to when needed.

One of the pieces that will help develop that plan is the park department’s five-year plan. If you would like to be involved, they will be starting public input sessions later this month. Join Parks Director Stacy Findley at Westside Park at 5:30 p.m. June 25.

Since we are talking about parks and recreation, I had a chance to help seal the kiddie pool and hang some of the sponsor banners at area parks.

I always enjoy my visits with departments and appreciate the crews who welcome me with open arms. I believe they are all learning to plan projects that an extra set of hands can be useful. As usual, it gives me an appreciation for what gets done in a day and often the hurdles that are overcome to make it happen.

There you have another glimpse of what a week in the life of a mayor is like.

To look back, though, about serving on boards and committees, I would like to share this quote from American author Marianne Williamson: “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”

Oftentimes, the volunteers who work on boards and committees are there because they have a passion for that topic. While I don’t personally serve on Oktoberfest, Jackson County Fair or many of the other nonprofit boards, I do know many of the members and know how passionate they are about it.

Deciding to cancel an event is never an easy choice, but they did not enter into them lightly. If it hurts you as a fan, imagine how it feels for a board member who absolutely loves the event and only wants what is best.

While I appreciate a difference of opinion, I don’t care for it when you resort to name-calling when you don’t agree. Before you travel down the path of insulting board members, consider finding the power in your heart to heal the wounds of our nation and do the work that needs done by becoming a volunteer.

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].