Football players and cheerleaders sit scattered around the few tables at Sonic, eating, drinking, and chatting after the day’s activities have come to an end. Some cars turn the single curve in the road at the town square and head up Main Street towards Bell Park. There, teens lazily sway in their hammocks amidst the trees. Across town, the soccer team and the cast of the drama department sit on opposite ends of Baskin Robbins, each group squeezing the 10 of them all into the biggest booth. Parents and children, both tired from the long day, stop by the few fast food joints dotted along the highway on the way home from work and practice. Back at the park, the sun begins to set, and couples take pictures at the cliff, the golden glow highlighting their fake smiles.
This is Greenwood. The town appears quaint, with cute local shops and petite houses dotting Main Street. The town square appears inviting, with benches encompassing the looming bell tower. Behind this facade, however, is gloom. Gloom caused by isolation, boredom, and stagnant activity. Although the town is full of life, it is not living.
If I were mayor of Greenwood, I would address the issue of community. Greenwood is a small town, but I know the people have big hearts. There is a longing for a sense of community and acceptance. There is a yearning for involvement and interaction with one another. This craving, however, has gone dormant.
Greenwood tries to act like it has a thriving community, but upon closer inspection, it is clear that this is not the case. Although our town has events such as the 4th of July “Freedom Fest” and the Halloween trick or treat walking trail, these outings are much too few and far between. As a town, we have community events on common holidays, but why stop there? Why should only holidays be celebrated in our town? If Greenwood is such “A Great Place to Live” as our motto suggests, then where is the fun and excitement? Where is the entertainment factor? Why do so many people stay home or travel to neighboring cities for fun?
Community involvement is key in creating a flourishing environment. As the mayor of Greenwood, I would ensure that our community becomes the beating heart of the town. I will propose more festivals and city-wide activities throughout the year. There will be concerts and plays performed by local groups in the Bell Park Amphitheatre, which is not used for such circumstances today. There will be promotional event days to encourage shopping local. There will be art festivals and displays and opportunities to create your own art and collaborate with others in creative ways. There will be community film nights where we project a family friendly movie outside at Bell Park with popcorn and candy. There will be baker/farmer’s markets where the community can come try and enjoy locally baked or grown goods.
As mayor of my town, I will fight the false sense of unity that we appear to have. With me fueling the fire, our town will become united together as one people. It is so important for everybody’s voices and opinions to be heard, and to make a difference in one’s community. Greenwood will be more open to new ideas and gatherings than ever with me steering the cause.