I'm writing to express my concerns regarding the current debate spurred by the Downtown Streetscape ballot initiative. It troubles me greatly that this issue has torn a rift in our community, and caused the fear and anger I've heard in both the discussion on the street as well as recent letters to the editor. Clearly, feelings are at a fever pitch, on both sides of the debate.
I would like to suggest that we, as a community, take a collective deep breath and make an effort to return to the thoughtful, respectful dialog that we're used to in Ridgway. This is a complicated issue, one that has obviously struck a nerve. No matter which side of the debate you're on, I urge you to remain involved in the ongoing discussion, but with an open mind and a considerate ear for the opinions of those on the other side. I've always believed that what makes democracy work is a willingness to listen to all sides, then find common ground upon which to build consensus.
It’s important to remember that, to a large extent, we all want the same thing: for the Town of Ridgway to be the best it can be. We want it to be a safe, vibrant, thriving town that people want to both visit and join. We have different ideas about how best to accomplish those things, but I'm pretty sure it’s an accurate assessment of our community's shared vision.
I look forward to seeing many of you at future town meetings to discuss this and other issues. Again, I'm hopeful that the discussions will be calm, considerate and respectful. Every one of us deserves nothing less. Please, let's be done with the personal attacks and threats of boycotts. Neither can possibly serve any purpose, other than to widen the divide and make it harder to move forward toward our common goals.
– John Clark, Town of Ridgway Mayor