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by Brandon Jenson, Springfield

The role of all government, but especially local government, is to enact the will of its citizens. The City of Springfield has done a truly remarkable job over the past few years to listen to our voices. In a uniquely Queen City way, we have laid out a bold vision for our city: to become a walkable, natural community that supports its residents, businesses, and neighborhoods. This is no easy feat, but it is only possible by remaining committed to the spirit of what we have laid out for the future.

Remaining committed to this vision means making difficult decisions with long-term impacts, and these initial decisions over the next few years are some of the most crucial. When our leaders show commitment to the vision, it energizes the neighborhoods and community around that affirmation. Neighbors begin to improve their homes, locally-minded businesses begin to invest, and nonprofits become further committed to supporting citizens. Our city grows stronger precisely because of the confidence and investment of the public sector that can only be inspired by a vision.

There will be temptations to significantly deviate from the vision and thereby lessen the impact if it were fully realized, but it is the duty of our elected officials to stand true. When the market cannot on its own achieve this vision, the public sector must provide the support necessary to make our vision a reality. As these tests of our future begin to occur, remember: bold plans demand bold follow-through. Good cannot be the enemy of great; we must believe in ourselves to achieve our Queen City vision.

Brandon Jenson is the President of the West Central Neighborhood Alliance