During the years, in talking to people in Shorewood and through my actual experience here, I've found that families with children find this a desirable place because of the school system.
Residents don't mind paying a somewhat higher tax for these school benefits. But I've also found that beyond the schools, there is very little to keep these families here after the children complete their high school education.
There doesn't seem to be a loyalty or sense of community that might hold them in Shorewood beyond that time, unless it's the garden.
Our society is a mobile one, where different members of the family move from one part of the country to another and do not spend too much time in one place. I've not been able to find what the average stay of families here in Shorewood is. Many used to move elsewhere because the head of the household's job was transferred.
I would think that now with two working members in the family, that a certain adjustment to place presents itself. However, the schools cannot hold families in place once the children have left school.
I did not come to live in Shorewood because of the schools. My wife and I wanted a house on the lake. We were able to select from three lots in 1970, one in Fox Point, one in Whitefish Bay and the other in Shorewood.
Without children, we were not concerned with school systems or property taxes. The price of the lots were similar. We wanted to root ourselves to a view of the lake and the lot in Shorewood was most suitable for us. We built a house here with the intent to live here perhaps for the rest of out lives.
And over this time, Shorewood has become our community and we have a loyalty to it. I refer to the long-time residents especially as citizens and accept the term residents as a general term that refers to everyone living here.
We paid school taxes for all these years and have not had a child in school. I'm sure there are many others in similar situations. The school tax we've paid would have bought another house in Shorewood. So we have at the least bought into this community and we accept its basic systems.
Now, of course there are others, some who have lived here longer, who choose to live here longer than it takes to educate their children, who have perhaps developed the spirit of Shorewood and accept this place as their community.
The result of course is that the people who remain here for more than it takes to educate their children are more mature of age. They help sustain the community's spirit.
What is missing in our community is the means for accommodating the most mature of these adults besides a grocery store, a drug store and the post office. I've found no one on the Village Board or the School Board over a period of time that we've lived here, and both of us have lived here longer than any other place, who understands what community means.
Perhaps my interest in community drew me to my profession and today I know that is the reason that I have the need to speak up for community at most turns as well as for Shorewood. This is my community as well as it is for many others who live here and I want it to be the best that it can be.
I believe that community needs a nucleus of stable population. Here, that nucleus is the long-time residents, who then would be the most mature. What is needed to develop the heart of the community is to find the best ways possible to accommodate the most stable, the most mature that will enable us to give centrality to community.
This is as important as the young families with children that help make up our community. The older mature are our most important asset along with the children that grow up here, who would return from time to time if their older or mature part of the family remained.
Let's not overlook the importance of this asset of older adults. They are the rock on which to be build our community and our community spirit.