To the Editor:
At the last DeKalb School District 428 board meeting before winter break, goodwill was in the air.
Citizens, board members and administrators were treated to the talented DHS Madrigal Singers, blending in sweet harmony.
The atmosphere brought a smile to everyone’s faces, a smile that continued with the announcement that District 428 and the DeKalb Park District were working together to protect the precious green space of Kiwanis Park, which benefits the DeKalb area.
Those of us in attendance (along with the 600-plus signed petitioners in the community and the 450 who have given a thumbs up to the “Keep Our Green; It’s Not for ShoDeen” page on Facebook) were delighted to hear this wonderful news.
To know that our governmental bodies listened and were responsive to community pleas to find a way to shift ownership of this vibrant recreational space to the hands of the park district was gratifying. To see board members personally approaching citizens before and after the meeting to discuss the issue was equally heartening.
The school board faced a complicated situation this fall with the land swap proposal, and we appreciate that board members and the park district have weighed the options and are negotiating transfer of the property to park district ownership.
Having attended City Council, park district and school board meetings to address this issue and having communicated with elected representatives on this matter have reassured us as taxpayers of the following: When conflicts or unexpected situations arise, these bodies and individuals are good listeners, critical thinkers and responsive to those they serve; our governing bodies are not only capable but also motivated to work together; these elected representatives are willing to change their minds and make difficult decisions in the best interests of the community.
The latter quality is especially challenging in a political climate that tends to value immediate, bottom-line, black-and-white solutions to complex problems.
In this season of harmony, we applaud both groups for working together for the common good. That’s democracy in action, as is their receptiveness to the public’s rights to petition and assemble. (The U.S. Congress could learn much from them.)
We are thankful for the proactive position they are taking to preserve a remarkable space that has served the community for nearly four decades and will now continue to do so for generations to come.
Art and Laurie Erdmann