Something of an encouraging nature happens every day. Many of you know that, because you’re participating in such an undertaking.
Good News Champions are everywhere, and I’m pretty sure you know them. They show up at work every day, planning to feel better than they did when they arose that morning. Getting to their jobs gives them a pretty good chance of improving their days, they understand.
They also walk at the crack of dawn, never minding the kinks they’re working out with every step.
Good News Champions might not enjoy every part of their day, but they usually go to bed looking forward to the next one. You could call this a mindset, a way of thinking that helps suspend a foregone conclusion, opening up the possibility of a different outcome. This type of thinking gives rise to new ways to solve problems.
A complaint serves as a call to action. When a person with a positive mindset hears a complaint, that person finds himself working to address the situation in a way that will make lives better.
On Siesta Key, many of the community’s Good News Champions were busy this past year. Their efforts gained momentum after they acted on complaints to create a positive outcome.
In early 2011, Siesta Key Association board members’ conversations with Sarasota County staff raised awareness about the fact that radar signs are one of the most effective ways to encourage drivers to travel at safe speeds. Before the year was out, the county had purchased not only six radar signs for Siesta Key but also signs for many other areas of Sarasota.
This past year, residents of Siesta Key also asked Florida Department of Transportation engineering staff to consider their concerns related to the rehabilitation of the north Siesta bridge.
We SKA members shared not only concerns but also very creative ideas for this project, with an eye on ways to improve traffic flow, safety, impacts on business revenue and work and school schedules as the bridge work proceeds. Additionally, we asked for FDOT engineers’ help and expertise. Since last May, FDOT staff has negotiated a contract encompassing our desired work schedule: keeping the bridge open and allowing the renovations to proceed only at night.
In fact, many organizations and neighbors partnered with county staff and FDOT to make this bridge work compatible with our needs. We didn’t stay at the complaint stage; instead, we got busy.
Our stewardship of the bridge project, partnering with each other and advocating for our neighbors, has continued with other issues. Benefits of the collaboration appeared when FDOT announced plans last year for the pedestrian islands on Midnight Pass Road.
As community members, we sought consensus on how best to make that road safer for pedestrians, and we again asked for FDOT’s expertise. Once more, the engineers responded. We’re well on the way to seeing the design of the preferred crosswalk option get under way in May.
We have more stories yet to be written, thanks to Good News Champions.
Catherine Luckner is president of the Siesta Key Association.