In Kirkland, citizens have noticed the cutbacks in services they used to take for granted. Readers send emails and letters to the editor lamenting about the new lower level city services: parks sometimes lack needed maintenance, the new trash cans can't accept large items resulting in trash left nearby, sidewalks seem dirtier and weeds need pulling. City staff does the best they can with limited resources, but here just doesn't seem to be enough resources to go around.
The new reality is that the government can't afford to provide the same services as in the past. We need to expect less from our government and we need to rely more on ourselves for things. The self-reliance wave is catching on as citizen come to terms with the new economic realities of our times. The "good old days" when there was a government program for every societal need are gone. We witness the trend here in Kirkland with the growth of volunteer groups stepping up and helping out with some tasks formerly handled by the city. This spirit of self-reliance is reflected in the newly-coined phrase, "if you see something, do something" we heard from a volunteer.
Market resident, Roger Kirk, is a good example of people taking the initiative through self-reliance. Roger noticed a problem in his neighborhood and decided to fix it himself rather than rely on a government which is strapped for cash. The landscape bedding around the tennis courts on Waverly Way were in need of some attention and there was little money available at City Hall for such maintenance.
Cutbacks in Parks Dept. budgets have left much of our city's crown jewels looking a little neglected. Last year, a volunteer team from the Heathman Hotel stepped up and set an example when they adopted Heritage Park and committed to donating 1000 hours working on park maintenance. Following their lead, Roger took the initiative and wanted to lend a hand as well.
On the first recent overcast day, Roger went to pull weeds and remove dead plant material from the landscape bedding next to the tennis courts. The beds around the courts had not been maintained in some time and were overgrown with weeds. The Parks Dept. will assist with the removal of the debris.
We say kudos! Score one more point for self-reliance and citizen-initiated problem solving.
Way to go Roger!