Dear Oakland Mills Village Board,
You and I have something in common. We love Oakland Mills, and we are willing to dedicate time and energy into making it better. As you serve out your terms and consider ways to improve our village, I submit the following request out of love for our village and the knowledge of just how hard your job can be:
- Be a positive face for Oakland Mills to the world. In all of your dealings be the kind of people that others will want to run towards, and not away from.
- Make positive policies that lift people up, not punitive policies designed to drive people away. Make it easy to come home to Oakland Mills, and to stay here, too.
- Remember than this attracts new residents, and that this drives them away.
- Keep in mind that we are a village of diverse ages, generational groups, race, ethnicity, culture, and income levels, and that that is exactly what we ought to be.
- For every minute you devote to focusing on fixing things that you feel are broken, devote an equal amount of time learning about and sharing things that are good (dare I say, awesome?) about our Village.
And one more thing:
If you are concerned about Howard County purchasing property in Oakland Mills, then solicit input from other village boards who have first-hand experience of the County's track record in this area. Nina Basu from Long Reach, for instance, would be a great resource.
If you wish that certain properties could be transformed into luxury condos, have you consulted a real estate professional who is knowledgeable about our particular area? I served on the OM Village Board with Michael McKenna; I think he'd be able to give you the straight dope on whether that's a realistic goal. What may have been feasible years ago may or may not be a possibility in today's market. Get the facts.
You have the ability to make connections with people in our community and beyond it to forge something new and forward-thinking for our village. You can encourage investment and creative solutions, and reaffirm the pride people feel in living in Oakland Mills.
Whether you are meeting with residents, business owners, representatives from our schools, the County, or the press, I challenge you to be gracious, cooperative, flexible, and above all, respectful. You are the first face of Oakland Mills that many people will see. That's a big responsibility.
Thank you for your work.
Julia McCready, former OMCA Board member