Selah City Challenge from SDA for January 2018
By Whitney Stohr, Executive Director
[Note: Selah offers so much to so many. Selah is our home, our safe place; it is where we work and shop, where our kids learn and plan. We love Selah, and we want to continue improving our community. On that note — Each month in 2018, Selah Downtown Association is posing a challenge to all residents and friends. We will challenge everyone, in various ways, to look at our community from a different perspective, to be more aware of our surroundings, and to give back to the city that we love. Please join in and share these challenges with friends and family. It takes everyone to build a strong community.]
January Challenge: Develop a strong awareness of how you personally utilize and benefit from city amenities.
Too often as we go about our daily lives we forget to consider the many ways in which we benefit from living in a city and the shared amenities that are available to us.
Many residents make a familiar journey each day: commuting to work in Yakima every morning and home again that night. The commute likely takes these drivers directly through the heart of our city, and through downtown along 1st Street. However, it doesn’t take long for a daily commute to become habit, and when it does, we can develop a sort of tunnel vision and forget to look around during the drive. Our main concern is then getting to and from our destination as quickly as possible.
While we all desire a smooth and efficient commute each day to and from our jobs, it is sad to think that the habit of our commute can cause us to overlook the very things that make our community a more comfortable and welcoming place to live. I’m referring here to those shared public amenities that strengthen our community and increase quality of life, but which we may pass by every day and don’t think much about. For example, think about the city’s network of public sidewalks, bus stops, or the bike route down Southern Avenue to the entrance of the Greenway. What about the quiet side streets, or the grass and trees lining 1st Street in front of the Civic Center? Even the city managed crosswalks and stoplights are public amenities from which we as a community benefit.
Cities by their very nature offer many benefits!
So, this month, we challenge you to take a look around and become more aware of everything provided to residents here in Selah. Think about the infrastructure you pass by on your way to and from work. Consider the sidewalks and crosswalks that protect your kids as they walk to school. Make a mental list of all the positive aspects of city life and all the amenities available to you simply because you choose to live, work or visit this community.
Then, create a second list: A list of possible improvements and areas where you believe the city could do better to provide more amenities for residents. But don’t stop there: Share your ideas, but more importantly, find a way to get involved and be part of the change in this community.
Whitney Stohr is the Executive Director of Selah Downtown Association. She is passionate about community change, livability, public art and environmental sustainability. She encourages everyone to become a voice for progress in their local communities and to advocate for positive change. Whitney is originally from Yakima and holds degrees from the University of Montana (B.A. Political Science), the University of Florida (M.S. Ecological Restoration), Gonzaga University School of Law (J.D.), and The George Washington University School of Law (LL.M. International and Comparative Law).