Provide input in your community

Over the last year, or so, there have been town halls, surveys and other means to collect information from residents and businesses as part of efforts to update Weirton’s comprehensive development plan.

There have been hundreds of residents giving feedback on things would like to see, the types of businesses they want, what areas they feel should be prioritized, recreational features and more.

It’s something I’ve seen more of in the last couple of years. People are starting to be willing to step forward and let their voices be heard when it comes to their community.

They will take part in surveys to determine the path of their hometown.

When there are hot-button issues, people will attend their local city council meetings.

They may go to a local board or volunteer group with a proposal of how to improve an area of the city.

They might not be able, or willing, to actually get involved in finding a solution to the issue, but they will at least bring it to the forefront. They speak passionately in an effort to get the ball rolling on a topic they find important.

Of course, there also are the keyboard warriors; those who are fine to sit at home, issuing comments and complaints but never taking that next step.

We all have our thoughts on what we think our communities should be in the years ahead.

We’ve seen where we have been. Some may have a grand vision of the future, or perhaps just a focus on a particular area, but there are thousands, if not millions, of ideas hidden in the minds of many of our residents.

Here is the thing to remember. These are your towns. They are your homes.

It continues to be important for you to express your thoughts on what you would like to see happen.

It doesn’t have to be some controversial issue to take you before your city or town council.

You don’t have to be a millionaire or a development guru to get an audience with your elected officials.

I’m sure there are suggestions made all the time that are never heard by the general public.

There are even more which never go beyond a quick note or a passing thought.

At the same time, keep in mind everything we see today started out as a similar thought.

There are festivals in our area which started as a shared dream among a few people and now attracts thousands of visitors every year.

There are parks which started because someone wanted to provide a place for local families to go.

Businesses have been founded because someone saw the need for a particular service.

But none of it could happen without being willing to share those thoughts.

Step forward. Express your opinions. It could be to a group of friends. Call your councilman or attend a city council meeting. Write a letter to the editor in this newspaper.

Maybe, even put a post on social media, but be willing to do something beyond.

It behooves us all to have thriving communities, with healthy businesses, clean streets, vibrant fairs and festivals, and happy residents.

None of it can happen without a willingness to express your thoughts. Take that step first, let the action come after.

Don’t expect someone else to do it for you.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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