Building Bridges

The Long Grove Covered Bridge, photographed in March, 2015

The Long Grove Covered Bridge, photographed in March, 2015

Our Village faces a number of challenges in the months ahead, and two of them involve building bridges.  In the literal sense, we are weighing options and facts regarding the decision to either replace our iconic covered bridge as is, or expand it to two lanes.  Metaphorically speaking, our Village needs to heal and find a way to work together after the arguments and accusations of the recent contentious election.  Both challenges are going to require a lot of work, a lot of patience and listening to others, a lot of putting aside of ego to do what is in the best interest of all the residents, and a lot of trust.

Trust needs a firm foundation on which to be built, as does a bridge.  And in the case of trust, that foundation starts with respect.  It takes a big person to put aside divisive rhetoric, forgive, and in turn respect someone who has criticized you publicly.  Every member of the Village Board is going to have to be that person.

In the case of our covered bridge repairs, the Board will need to keep listening to our Village engineers as they evaluate costs and details, particularly as they relate to the use of federal funds.  But more importantly, we need to seek a better understanding from our residents on what they truly value.  A member of the Historical Society told me recently that she loves the one-lane aspect of the bridge because visitors crossing into our town, “get a moment to pause, take a breath, and realize that they are entering someplace special.”  Is monetary cost the only consideration?

I have confidence that with thoughtful input from our residents and engineers, the new Board will be able to realize the best direction to take on the re-building of our covered bridge.  I also believe that it is possible to reconcile, collaborate, and support one another as members of a team who solve problems, get things accomplished, and respect one another.  Being born and raised in a small, mid-western farming town means that I am not afraid of a challenge, adversity, or hard work.  This spring and summer, I am planning to roll up my sleeves and build some bridges.  And I truly hope that the residents of Long Grove will be right there, too.