Shorewood must focus on and talk about the essential elements that really respond to the organic impulses of community.
One of today's main elements of community is the school system where the children come together from all aspects of the community. Children from the various families meet and interact. Interaction is one of the basic elements of community and the schools provide that focus in the U.S.
Shorewood is one of the few communities in the Milwaukee area where children can walk to school and to the library and even to the central commercial elements of our community and then walk back home again. They interact primarily at their grade levels and not separated by economic status. .
We have families who economically are concerned about millions of dollars and families who are preoccupied with the lowest numbers of dollars in their everyday lives. Yet these are the basic differences that schools ignore, concentrating primarily on issues of human equity.
We have elderly who can afford to travel and be away from our community as often as much as they want. On the other hand, there are elderly who can hardly afford to remain in the community that they may have grown up in and that they understand to be their community.
We do not have an integrating mechanism like a school system for the elderly to put them all together as we do with children. Yet we can do that. We can even integrate seniors and children by expanding our school system to perform these functions, making them central to our community.
In doing so, we would also bring the parents of children together with senior citizens, completing the forming elements that help centralize the community. This is the social surplus that small towns bring to the American culture.
A surplus that is declining in our urban areas as they get larger and fractionalize, moving away from the centralizing ingredients of community. Shorewood has this possibility and we should not lose sight of it in everything we do, especially in our redevelopment processes. Condos on their own do not a community make.
I don't see that anyone of the professional staff or the elected officials of the Village of Shorewood who have a real sense or feeling for community. I hope that the candidates prepare themselves, as they are the only ones that can be questioned and it seems, only at election forums.
I would like them to begin talking about community before then, perhaps right now. As community is within our reach, it is something we should discuss and become familiar with. Where do candidates stand on community?