State of the city. Not long ago, I had a chance to take in the state of the city messages of the four cities in District 112, sponsored by the Southwest Chamber of Commerce.
Taylor Hubbard delivered Chaska’s state of the city message and spoke about the good work being done out of the Human Rights Commission and Chaska’s Parks and Recreation Department, citing a number of program and project efforts aimed at creating a more inclusive community. It addressed the aggressive Park and Rec Adaptive programming efforts, including the Learning Links Par 30 golf course and the partnerships working with Latino Voices and Mikasa. All really encouraging and good people focused efforts for those who often have little voice. This absolutely represents healthy community work. Thanks for those efforts!
MLK Day Celebration. I had a chance to watch the event held Jan. 16 at the Chaska Event Center, and it again was a wonderful celebration of the special day that it is! The reflections of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his dream for America shared by high school students and the guest speaker is a motivating time as the community gathers. In and of itself, it’s a community grounding and building experience and among the most impactful gatherings our community holds. In those reflections, it does show that we still have a long way to go in our equity and inclusion journey. Prejudice and bias is alive and well and it’s reflected in so many ways.
This event brings us together and also recognizes the efforts of those who both care and work to build a community for all. Congratulations to Latino Voices, which received this year’s Human Rights recognition. It’s a well-earned recognition! Thanks to all who supported the event, especially to the Human Rights Commission and District 112 for their coordination and participation. Another very well done event!
Vince Meuwissen. Vince passed away recently at 96 years of age. Vince took tickets at Athletic Park for the Chaska Cubs for many, many, many years…a really long time. He loved baseball and especially amateur baseball. He spent hours and hours at that wonderful park. It was a huge part of his life.
While Vince may not always have been complimentary of the play on the field or the decisions made by the GM or its board — or even the city when it came to clean up day — he was truly a Cubs supporter and a very special fan. Back in the 1940s, Vince played for the Cubs…as a catcher, I believe, so he was a Cub for almost 80 years!
When KMSP-TV came out for a Townball game, they talked to Vinnie and highlighted his age and his long time, avid support of the Cubs as its ticket taker.
One thing would please Vince and that’s for you all to get down to Athletic Park and attend a Cubs Game or maybe many Cubs games. As you come to a game you’ll be passing through the Vince Meuwissen Gate and I’m sure with a smile from Vinnie!
A community need. One of the strengths of our community and our area is the nonprofit organizations and services in place to address the needs of the community.
From hunger to homelessness, from youth issues and needs to mental health, from individual and family counseling to job training, from coordination of needs to Building Community, from addressing abusive situations to providing brotherly and sisterly love, from aging needs and services to supporting our growing diversity — the list is long and impressive.
It represents commitment and dedication by people with passion and motivation. It’s work that’s needed and making a difference.
One of the things, however, that often is a challenge is the ability to find or connect to these services. We read recently about the good work that is being done via a platform called Lin-kij that places an emphasis on coordinating needs across many providers that leads to the best match of need and service. This can be a difference maker in addressing community issues and needs.
What remains, however, is a need for a shared location where those in need can go for a variety of services, including many mentioned above that could meet those varied needs. It represents that one stop provision of services. It provides that Community Service Center under one roof.
This has been a discussion for quite some time and there are examples of where this has been created and is presently in place and making a real difference.
It requires a vision — a shared vision by providers and by those who could invest and help to make it happen. To some degree, it will require the community to help support putting such a service center in place. If this can happen, it would provide an identity that says every person has value and that we will not just place a band aid on a problem but, rather, will look at the systemic issues and needs that can have a long-term impact.
Is there interest? Can there be a shared vision for such a facility by service providers and where might such a location be identified? Some key questions for a growing need. I believe this is becoming an exciting opportunity that requires that shared vision for a real community need and a true community building project.
Bob Roepke is a former Chaska mayor and serves on the Community Foundation for Carver County Board.