If you live in Davidson, you just received the latest Town Message quarterly newsletter in the mail.
I know some readers of this blog probably question the overall value of the newsletter As newsletters go, this one has pretty much what you would expect from any Town Hall. It is chock full of nothing but the "good" news while anything "not so good" rarely sees the light of day. However, there's something in this one that warrants some positive feedback.
In there you'll find a section called 'Meet Your Neighbors'. It's a section designed to cover a neighborhood each issue and help people from our growing town get to know a little more about it's many areas other than just the town center. We are more than just the Village Area or the College. Davidson is a growing town with lots of newcomers. This section will hopefully get people to know and better understand that fact.
More importantly, it will hopefully be a baby step in the right direction towards helping some of the outlying neighborhoods to feel more "connected" to this place we all call home.
The first installment of this new section was in the January issue covering Davidson Pointe with the April issue covering Bailey Springs - both outlying neighborhoods away from the town center. That's no accident.
After the last election, I had the opportunity to sit down with the town's Public Information Officer, Christina Shaul. We had a long discussion on some of the issues I came across while on the campaign trail last year related to town communication. Going door-to-door, I repeatedly heard from residents in the outlying neighborhoods things like "we feel disconnected" or "we're like an orphaned neighborhood". I even heard "we're the red headed stepchild neighborhood of Davidson".
One of the suggestions I made was for something exactly like this new section of the newsletter- articles that focused not on the town center but instead focused on the neighborhoods. I also suggested that it not start with the big neighborhoods close to town. Ms. Shaul actually had been toying with the idea already for a while, but the direct feedback with real world examples spurred its immediate inclusion. That responsiveness is something to be commended.
It also provides an example of how citizens can have an impact to make things just a little bit better. It may seem small and inconsequential, but I'm a big believer if more people do these kinds of small things - speak up and encourage change - that we can make a big difference over the long-term.
Bonus Observation: The Town is also planning a meeting for neighborhood representatives and/or HOA board members to help get neighborhoods more connected with local government. This will be on May 12 from 7:00pm - 8:00p at Town Hall. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.