As we turn the page from a tumultuous and tiresome year, the lessons of the fables of our youth remain unchanging.
The story of the Tortoise and the Hare resonated with me as a lanky kid not blessed with quickness. It reminds us to learn from the rabbit’s mistake of smugly taking gifts for granted. The turtle’s slow and steady example often wins the race in the long run.
The year 2020 was a test of endurance for everyone. It made us appreciate our family, homes, friends and neighbors.
Here are three things to look forward to in 2021.
Over the past nine months, there have been Stay at Home orders, curbside service, limited capacities, social distancing, meetings via Zoom, iconic events canceled, and live streaming for community input sessions and worship services. Family gatherings have been pared down to protect those we love.
Face masks have joined cell phones, wallets and car keys as things we can’t leave home without. Six feet became the standard unit of measure, rather than just my height.
Thankfully, vaccines are on the way over the next six months and there is a light on the horizon. We are all asked to continue to responsibly follow the recommendations outlined by health officials since last summer – maintain social distancing, wash our hands more frequently, wear masks when out in public and limit large gatherings – in order to emerge from this pandemic as quickly as possible. Many in our neighborhoods have done a good job of reaching out to help those who need a hand and graciousness will be even more important at the end of this long journey.
The Neighborhood Advisory Council has been part of a new initiative to promote new levels of residential investment – Restore SGF.
It aspires to bring residents, real estate agents, developers, banks, employers and community organizations together to encourage home ownership, invest in existing housing stock and enhance the quality of life and civic pride in Springfield’s historic neighborhoods.
Initial strategies for Restore SGF include providing a central resource for all residential programs, more effectively market available options, stimulate the creation of rehabilitation financing and incentives, and reduce barriers to home ownership and reinvestment.
Check out restoresgf.com for more details as they are unveiled throughout the year.
Hosting social events is one of the most important roles of neighborhood associations. Monthly general membership meetings, block parties, parades, holiday parties, kickball tournaments, home tours, National Night Out and other gatherings allow us to get to know our neighbors and highlight our authentic places.
The promise of vaccines distributed on a wide scale will allow these valuable events to return in the second half of 2021. We should use the coming months to take a fresh look at these gatherings to incorporate the lessons learned over the past nine months. We have all been changed by what we have experienced, and our events will need to be modified to reflect those new realities.
Poet Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.”
Thank you to the neighborhood leaders across our community who maintain perseverance during this pandemic to do the little things, step by step, to keep Springfield moving forward.