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New Initiatives for the New Year
As I was preparing to send this letter last week, our nation experienced yet another unprecedented disruption during the congressional certification of the presidential election. As such, I waited to send out the letter so I may begin the New Year message with a reminder that our words matter and while being kind and patient doesn’t cost you anything, it may be priceless to the individual(s) on the receiving end and help them power through a difficult day or time. Let’s use recent disruptive and divisive events as urgent reminders of the importance to unite as a community in Pittsfield, regardless of political ideologies, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration or economic status.
With the start of the New Year, Pittsfield is ready to put into motion a number of new initiatives, including adoption of a new Master Plan that articulates our vision to promote equity and sustainability. The last update, in 2016, placed sustainability as the central unit of analysis and it is our goal to use this update to intertwine equity and sustainability as the central unit of analysis. For example, initiatives to promote local food access will be implemented in a manner that preserves and keeps our agricultural spaces productive (sustainability) while ensuring that the produce is made available to the most vulnerable and food insecure members of our community (equity). Similarly, housing and mixed-use density will be favored to discourage sprawl (sustainability) while ensuring diversity of housing stock that is accessible via multiple modes of transportation (equity). For past and upcoming information on the Master Plan: http://www.pittsfield-mi.gov/masterplan
The results from the Public Safety survey, conducted last fall, will be presented to the Board of Trustees later this month that will include recommendations aimed at further enhancing both transparency and racial equity. Some of the recommendations include: Equipping all uniformed police personnel with body cameras; Partnering with Washtenaw Community College to establish a recruitment pipeline for police and fire personnel to increase the number of sworn minority officers; and Greater public dissemination of public safety information such as citizen complaint, traffic stop, and use of force data. The survey results and final recommendations will be made available, after Board of Trustees review and approval, at: http://www.pittsfield-mi.gov/publicsafety
Another new initiative that we recently unveiled, after working with our local business partners and folks at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments over the past month, is the ShopLocal video and resource page. For more information: http://www.pittsfield-mi.gov/shoplocal
As I’ve mentioned in previous letters, while we’ve worked toward building a sense of community and place over the past decade, the Great Pandemic and other disruptive events, since March, give us incentive to continue working to enhance our efforts to build inter-connections – both physical and otherwise – between our residential, recreational, retail, commercial, cultural, entertainment, business, and open spaces so we may better support our local talent, increase sustainable self-reliance, and come together as one community. Let’s work together to manifest this hope into reality by supporting our local community to unite and be patient and kind with ourselves and each other.
Mandy Grewal, Ph.D.