It does not have to be. When it rains, there is the sense of a city in a swamp. When it is hot and parched, there is the claustrophobia of an overcrowded marketplace. The smells, the sights, and the blights are not of a Garden City or of a city by the sea or of a city on the move – upward. It is of a town and a place lacklustre as to pride and civic responsibility, collective priority, and individual dignity. It does not have to be.
Start with the little things. All those tiny things cost big money. Must be found. Must be done. Or else… Same cries! Same states! Same embarrassments! Rates and taxes collected are unrealistic and unhelpful. They need to be revised. Fairly and gradually. It is mandatory that this must be collected. COLLECTED. Or else…It would be the same place with the same results and the same decayed desultory outlook. It does not have to be. Some citizens are willing to pay their fair share, but the evidence of enhancements has to follow. Soon enough.
The revitalization of Georgetown involves an axis of multiple partnerships. Partnership with ratepayers (residents); partnership with users (passers-through); partnership with vested interests (businesses); partnership with agencies (government). None of this is quantum physics, but individually, each is more complex than simple. Citizens wish to do their part, but only when discerning good faith.
Recent pumps and drainage plans announcements are late, but welcomed. It is time to move past the drawing board and media board and get down to the floorboard. If this plan happens, some tangible changes should be experienced rapidly. This has to align with littering strikes aimed at deterring the uncooperative. Stop the nonsense involving ‘sweetie paper’ and chewing gum. As important as those are, they are still negligible in the bigger picture of food boxes, beverage containers, and those larger items of commercial detritus. They pile up and clog; target the regular abusers.
Timely and efficient garbage collection forms part of the continuum. Has to be consistent and can only be attained with proper contractual relationships. Open the door to renegotiation. If the overall programme stretches from individual discipline to business compliance to municipal obligations, the three primary components then, of necessity, the appearance and health of the associated communities belong in that milieu and garbage removal is a must.
Streets must be cleaned, repaired, and maintained. If City Hall is strapped for men and machinery, then invite selected businesses to help with specific areas. Partner with the Chamber of Commerce; they have the resources. Determine who is genuinely interested in lifting up the surroundings. Start somewhere.
Parking meters have to be. There will be selfish resistance: no rules, no regulations, no responsibilities. Get the thing done: pricing, implementing and STOP tail wagging the dog. The aesthetics of the city needs enhancing because it has been neglected for too long.
As such, standards do not exist in a vacuum. That is, nonexistent, or every man a king subject to his own whims and caprices. When such a situation dominates, then any well-conceived, well-intentioned, outcomes-oriented visions are immediately rebelled against, and fought tooth and nail for the perpetuation of the status quo. People will complain harshly about the way things are, and about nothing being done towards improvement, but ask them to chip in through some unselfish steps, and it is tantamount to unpardonable human rights violations. Let the next man be the pilot.
Take back the city. Squeeze out the sores, the seepage, the sick and sicknesses. Bigger issues: health, addiction, homelessness, failure, and hopelessness. Bigger than municipality and the city. Heads together. Will to make things happen. There will be toes crushed. Be as considerate and compassionate as circumstances dictate. But remember: no omelet without eggs; or no pig, no ham.
This thing can be done, if everyone owns a piece of the responsibility; if it is spread out fairly, and if all residents and citizens are prepared to do their part.
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