It's the little things
Sometimes when we look at the forest, we miss the single tree. You can follow the math: It takes more than one tree to make a forest.
In town, and the surrounding communities, we spend time looking at building new amenities, attracting new businesses and often we overlook what is in front of us.
Perhaps the larger problem is who is in charge? We have more than a half dozen or more groups, agencies and elected organizations dealing with various aspects of economic development. Sometimes there is overlap, but most often there is not.
I've complained in the past about snow plowing the streets, snow removal on sidewalks, weeds growing out cracks between the curb and the sidewalk, and the in the gutter between the tarmac and concrete curbing, as well as in the cracks of the sidewalk. These are the little things that visitors, tourists, investors see when they look around a community. Especially when the weeds are nearly knee high.
You have to wonder what they think when they see our wonderful winter banners on the light poles and the date is June 6. Somebody asked me the other day if the flower baskets would be put on the same poles as the winter banners? Good question.
Granted, the banners are a product of a community committee funded with money from the Nordicfest beautification monies. That's been a while. You'd think with all the organizations we've formed in the interim, someone would take responsibility for the changing of banners three times a year — Summer, Nordicfest and Winter. Instead, we seem to stumble along with some kind of unspoken partnership between the city and the local utility companies to get the job done.
Like it or not, want it or not, Libby is moving toward needing and having a larger percentage of tourism as part of its diversifying economy. We should at least look like we're open for business.
I know, I know. The city started the change-out downtown last month. California Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares through the city, still has mostly winter banners on the poles. I don't doubt that city crews are now busy. But some things have to be done, busy or not. That's an organization and leadership issue.
Another question is why aren't the businesses complaining about this? No expectations or low expectations? Or is we just don't care about the little things?
I guess the question is: Don't we care?
Last year, I wrote a review in this space of a book called "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. In that book, Gladwell recounted how New York City reduced crime in what was considered unsafe subways. They eliminated the graffiti from the walls of the subway and the subways cars. The people in charge knew that how the users of the subway perceived the public transportation system went a long way toward making it safer. The answer to the problem was in the little things. — Roger Morris