Fall in the Ozarks is typically an exceptional time of the year. We enjoy our favorite iconic community events like the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, football games, Cider Days and Harvest Fest at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park.
We are disappointed to not have those fall favorites in 2020 due to Covid-19, but there are four significant things we can safely venture out to do:
Walk and watch
Take advantage of the milder weather to walk. Explore new areas of your neighborhood by deviating from your routines. Find homes with interesting histories and green spaces with unknown beauty.
While you are getting some fresh air and exercise, make a point to keep an eye out. The Neighborhood Watch mantra is “See something, say something.” Community policing is much more effective when residents take the time to know their neighbors and report criminal or suspicious activity. Many areas have Neighborhood Watch groups and each neighborhood has a Police Area Representative (PAR) officer to assist in proactively addressing criminal activity. PAR officers are listed on each registered neighborhood’s page of this publication.
Make a goal to rack up additional steps each week and be more active in your Neighborhood Watch.
Pitch in by picking up
Everyone doing a little makes a big difference. As you are out walking in your neighborhood, occasionally bring along a sack and pick up the trash you see along the sidewalks and curbs. It will make a material difference on your street and can be contagious to get others to follow your example.
Many neighborhoods will offer cleanups this fall. It is a good opportunity to clear out the clutter that may have accumulated with the extra time at home the past few months. Check with your neighborhood to learn when your cleanup will be held this fall and spring.
The City of Springfield is resuming community engagement for the Forward SGF comprehensive planning process for the community. A variety of virtual, digital surveys and in-person sessions with appropriate social distancing will be offered to get your feedback in this inspiring process. This is your chance to voice your opinions on what you want to see in your neighborhood and community.
Too often, neighborhoods feel that they are in the position of having to play defense with planning and zoning issues. More input now, without a pressing redevelopment case, will more objectively guide future investment. The City and your neighborhood want to hear your ideas on what you want to materialize over the next 20 years. Organic plans based on the engagement of many residents brings credibility to the process.
Vote with vigor
Voting is vital to our democracy. Having strong turnouts across all our neighborhoods allows residents to be counted and is an important measure of civic engagement. Encourage your friends and neighbors to exercise their civic duty by learning about the candidates and the issues and letting their voices be heard.
The year 2020 is mercifully winding down. Rather than dwelling on what we won’t be able to due in this unprecedented fall season, the Neighborhood Advisory Council encourages you to walk and watch, pitch in by picking up, face forward and vote with vigor in order to sow the seeds that will make a difference in 2021 and beyond.