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Changing the Climate of a Community

I find it interesting to see how the attitude or climate of a community can change with just a little bit of communication between groups.

The last two weeks we have seen levels of public participation at local informative sessions unmatched in quite some years from what I've been told.

On April14th the Chamber hosted the first of a quarterly breakfast series developed to share information about local assets to help our local businesses succeed. During a thunderstorm at 7:30am on a Tuesday morning, approximately 70 people attended, asked relevant questions and left with some important knowledge they did not have the day before.

On April 21st, the City of Port Lavaca hosted a Community Open House to inform and encourage the public to participate in the process of developing a comprehensive plan for the City. Gathering information from Port Lavaca's citizens is crucial - this comprehensive plan is not to guide the City in the future for a year or two. It's to lay out a map for a decade or two.

There were approximately 100 in attendance and all were engaged by the consultants working with the City throughout this planning process. Small groups gathered and discussed Port Lavaca's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as they perceived them to be.

Again, the turn-out was fantastic and encouraging. Encouraging in that the public reinforced their desire to be informed, their desire to take part in the process, a desire to be heard.

These two meetings if looked at separately may not mean much. May just be a fluke. Looked at together and in addition to public reception of other recent local events it can be argued they mean a great deal. They mean Port Lavaca's citizens are excited about the possibilities for the future.

I would contend much of the change in attitude is brought on by a focus on communication between groups, between stakeholders and the public. Concentrating on keeping lines of communication open is vital in gaining trust, whether it be between the Chamber of Commerce and the City, the City and its citizens or the school district and the public. The positive results of that focus are evident and reinforce the fact that people want to be included and heard when it comes to quality of life issues in our community.

It's an exciting time in Port Lavaca - the Chamber of Commerce has instituted new programs and events, with more on the way in the next six months. The City has made a strong commitment to planned, quality growth and improvements. The school district has new leadership and progressive ideas and plans.

I encourage you to be informed and engaged in what is happening during this time in Port Lavaca.

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