I received an anonymous letter in the mail this week.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever received an anonymous letter, but when you do, it immediately makes you wince at opening it and think you’ve dropped into the middle of some suspense movie with a terrible plot.
Very melodramatic, I know, but when you’re a husband and father of three who spends the evenings after his children have gone to bed browsing Netflix, you take excitement where you can get it.
Needless to say, this wasn’t that kind of letter.
This letter was from a very positive Altus resident, and she had some really great points to make about how to improve the look of the City of Altus.
A couple of weeks ago in an editorial, I had commented on the state of our alleys in regard to garbage and how it brings down the overall appearance of our city. Since then I have had several conversations with other residents and community leaders about what can be done to improve this and some of the other things that impact our image. While I will probably elaborate further on those discussion in later editorials, I’d like to share some of the points this resident had to make about some simple things that could be done to help attain a better looking city.
The first point that was made is towards us business owners or managers. Let’s get outside and pull up or cut down some weeds. This town at times gets overrun with them. I will be the first to admit guilt for letting the weeds here at our lot get out of hand. Often times in day-to-day operations as owners or managers, the only time we consider the weeds growing through the cracks in our parking lots are when we arrive and leave our office for the day.
The second point that was made is about getting together as a community to figure out how to clean up and care for our parks and public spaces. The City of Altus parks and recreation department has very few staff members and a lot of ground to cover. They do a great job, but they can’t be everywhere at once.
The community has pulled together before in an amazing effort to help refurbish Missile Park, and I know that project is only the beginning of what can be accomplished.
Whether it’s your civic group, church group or a business’ employees getting together as volunteers, just imagine what 30 minutes a week – or even a month – could do if we all committed to it.
To give a more relatable example, I’ll look to my wife. Over the course of the summer, she’s turned the brown box house we bought a year ago with weeds in the yard and rocks in the flower bed into a beautiful yard and garden full of roses, sweet potato and lavender with just a little work each day.
I’m not speaking from a mountain or pedestal here either. I don’t pretend to have lofty or idealistic civic goals. I can guarantee I haven’t been the first in the volunteer line in the past. I’m just thinking out loud. I’m dipping my toe in the water so to speak.
What we put into our city is what we get out of it. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.
To the person who wrote the letter, your correspondence is appreciated. Perhaps we could become anonymous pen pals.
Reach Matt Moran at 580-482-1221, ext. 2071.