Fairfield Ledger
https://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1700074

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Community betterment discussed at monthly forums

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Oct 30, 2017
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Denyce Rusch of the Fairfield Cultural Alliance addresses the crowd in Phoenix Rising Hall Tuesday during a community forum. Also pictured are, from left, Bill Goldstein, Mayor Ed Malloy and Tom Stanley.

A group of residents is trying to stimulate community engagement through a series of monthly forums.

The group is known as the Community Forum Steering Committee, and for the past few months has met at Phoenix Rising Hall to talk about issues facing the town and county. For instance, the most recent meeting on Tuesday focused on enhancing tourism and how to make Fairfield a retirement destination. About 35 people attended and offered suggestions about how Fairfield could market itself. Ideas from the audience included highlighting the town’s small town values with big city opportunities, its tolerance and inclusion, cosmopolitanism, and concern for the environment.

Maharishi University of Management’s vice president of the board of trustees Tom Stanley hatched the idea of creating the steering committee. Einar Olsen, another active member of the committee, hopes the forums foster networking between civic groups so “people with similar interests and projects can find each other more easily,” he said.

“The steering committee hopes to accomplish even more ‘unity amidst diversity’ in Fairfield and Jefferson County than has already been created over the decades, of all individuals and groups in our area,” Olsen said. “That means a mutual appreciation among us all of the characters, goals, and projects of our local individuals and groups, which can foster a coherent, progressive whole, and constructive relationships based on mutual understanding. This is obviously about harmony, a harmony-dominant community, city, county.”

Olsen said the steering committee is not planning a course of action like presenting its ideas to city council. Instead, it will provide ideas for people who want to expand existing projects or create new ones.

“We do not have a specific political, economic, or cultural agenda, but the general goal of harmony, coherence, and progressive working togetherness, to the extent that community members desire,” he said.

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