Williston – City with a heart

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By Nancy Wininger

Guest Columnist

A friend of mine recently had surgery and developed slight complications with her heart. Anything with your heart doesn’t seem “slight” to me but in her case, it was something that didn’t require surgery but did require monitoring. Thankfully, things turned out well for her and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

However, it did make me think about which situations in life, health or otherwise, can be handled with just monitoring, and which require “surgery”.

You may have noticed in the last while, there has been a push for things to look better in Williston because, as great as things are here, we want them to be even better and that includes Williston’s curb appeal. It seemed odd to ask residents to clean up their property when our old City Hall needed so many improvements. That’s one of the many reasons we’re building a new City Hall. The investment is worth it because our citizens, our businesses and our employees are worth it. The new Veterans’ Memorial is a testament to that as well. We care about and value each other.

Our Code Enforcement Officer, City staff, and Board of Adjustments care also. They are people with a heart. As they monitor code enforcement they do everything they possibly can to help owners whose property is out of compliance get into compliance. A little tweaking is often all that’s needed, but sometimes surgery is required. No one wants to be fined for code violations and believe me, the City doesn’t like issuing fines or foreclosing on property, but it improves the health of everyone involved – those who spend so much time keeping their property in compliance and those who, for whatever reason, won’t or can’t.

That’s the purpose of this article. Some of our neighbors just aren’t able to keep their property up and our hearts go out to them. So that’s where we all come in – neighbors who need help being helped by those who can.

On Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. there will be a Town Hall meeting in the City Council Chambers at City Hall (currently at the old Williston High School). Besides the usual purpose of a Town Hall meeting to answer questions and receive comments, I would like to invite anyone who needs help with code compliance, and those who might be able to help, to come and begin a dialogue about what we can do together to improve not only Williston’s appearance, but also the lives of those who live here, visit here, and drive through here.

Officer Kathy Long from the Williston Police Department will tell us about the Broken Windows theory. In a nutshell, if a community tolerates things like a broken window, it will tolerate another then another then another - and that directly ties to crime. Williston is a safe place to live, work, and play and the more of us involved in the effort to keep it in good repair, the better. Besides, your property value will go up and who doesn’t want more money for their property should they decide to sell? (But don’t move away – we want to keep all our residents and businesses and encourage more to move here!)

So there it is. My heart’s on my sleeve – not as a member of the City Council because this is not a Council project nor a City project and it’s certainly not a new idea. I’ve heard your concerns and willingness to help during the two years I’ve been on the Council.

Let’s gather together to see if there is a way to help our neighbors and at the same time benefit our entire community - an opportunity to combine tender feelings with helping hands that will be received by grateful hearts.

Please join us. See you on April 12!