Posted on December 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM by Jim Healy
A Country Way of Life, for all of Wisconsin’s Seasons
One of the questions that we received quite often during our Strategic Planning process, and the surveys that were a part thereof, was what do we mean when we say “Richfield, For A Country Way of Life”? During that planning process we spent a good deal of time discussing that question and formulating a defining answering to that question. If you take a moment to read the Village’s revised Vision and Mission, I think you will find your answer.
As I write today, we are recovering from the effects of Winter Storm "Draco". Between the wet heavy snow, rain, freezing slush, downed trees and power lines, our Village crews continue to work to keep our roads open as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, living in the “Country” presents some unique challenges on days like today.
Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, it gets quite frustrating for citizens, Village Staff and the Village Board alike. While we continue to plug away toward full cleanup, our resources remain limited and are stretched to the max. While we would certainly prefer to have every road cleaned at all times of the day, our resources are truly pushed to a breaking point with these types of storms. It’s not that we spare any expense during these emergencies, but we simply do not have the man power to maintain that level of service. Still, isn’t part of living in the Country enduring these types of conditions? After all, it wasn’t “over the bypass and through the interchange to Grandma’s house we go”.
Although I realize this isn’t the type of message that sits well during this time of year, it is certainly a reminder of the pros and cons of ‘A Country Way of Life.’ As with all things in life, we take the good with the bad, and while enjoying the beautiful scenery and calm serenity of 'country living', the equal but opposite reaction is that it may take a bit longer to be able to see the blacktop again in between snow storms, especially if we wish maintain low Village tax rates and smaller local government.
The bottom line is that battling ferocious hills, 300 lane miles of road and dead ends/cul-de-sacs make our efforts to maintain efficient, effective and economical service very difficult when Mother Nature does her bidding. If you throw fallen trees in the road, downed power lines, and car accidents into the equation operations can quickly go from a crawl to a standstill in a hurry. While we continue to do our best to keep up with the cleanup, we do so with the understanding that part of country living involves going “over the river and through the woods” which isn’t always the easiest to traverse, nor the easiest to clean up. Still, we do so in a responsible way, also keeping in mind the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and visitors.
Both literally and figuratively, every storm creates a unique challenge for our community. It is a continuing balancing act to live up to the Mission of our community, which in part reads as follows: “We effectively plan and manage Village growth to successfully blend our rural heritage with our modern way of life.” Whether it is a snow storm, a development storm or some other variety of storm, our Country way of life and this defined balance are continuously put to the test. It is up to the citizens of our community to define how long and how well we can continue to maintain that balance, even defining what that balance means.Until next time!-Josh