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Published: 8/3/2005

Archbold group to build sense of community

Social values, education, and economics play key roles in keeping residents rooted in Archbold, based on information gathered as part of a local community collaborative that has taken shape here.

More than 40 residents are now members of the Archbold Community Collaborative's management team that will meet Aug. 17. The goal for that meeting is "to narrow down the scope of our focus" about what issues to deal with first, said Archbold schools Superintendent Ken Cline. It was formed earlier this year to help build a stronger sense of community.

The management team continues to emphasis that while the school district may have initiated the effort, this is not just about the schools, but about the whole community.

During the July meeting, economic, education, and social values were identified as being the most important reasons people would not want to leave Archbold.

Economics topics included the shift in taxation in Ohio from business to residential in an attempt to improve the state's business climate, Archbold schools' need for an operating levy, and the lack of moderate housing available in the village.

Social values included that Archbold has the same crime issues as a big city, and that the community hasn't done a good enough job of making Hispanic residents feel like an integral part of the community.

Education topics posed questions such as whether the schools should have open enrollment; what importance should sports play in the schools, and how can Archbold learn from communities that have experienced major problems?

The management team, which includes residents who represent a wide range of views and perspectives, was formed to guide the work of the collaborative and help ensure that all citizens in the community have an opportunity to participate and be heard. mailing has been conducted to let people know that the collaborative exists, and a Web site has been set up to help draw attention to it.

When decisions are made about what issues to deal with first, that will become the agenda for what is being called "kitchen-table discussions." Those discussions will take place over the next many months, Mr. Cline said, and the format will create a communication avenue to keep residents informed about issues.

That way, "we can be pro-active in our communications with the community," Mr. Cline said.

In doing so, the community can get the facts first - before residents make decisions about issues, such as those relating to schools or local government.

The collaborative's meeting Aug. 17 begins at 7 p.m. in the Archbold High School Media Center.



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