The village of Greenfield intends to honor its graduates, city manager Todd Wilkin said in his report to council at this week’s meeting. The plan is to celebrate McClain’s 2020 graduating class with a cruise-in Thursday, May 21 from 6-8 p.m.
He said he’d like to see all the graduates, whether alone or with their families, cruising Jefferson Street in their cars, and parents, neighbors and community members out on their porches and on the sidewalks, responsibly distanced, celebrating the seniors as they “bop the circuit.”
Wilkin noted that a local group has successfully held a couple events inviting folks to hop in their vintage cars and cruise through town, something that residents and participants have enjoyed.
The support of the community through this time has been evident with things like banners in places throughout town and the adopt-a-senior events happening. The cruise-in seems to be a fitting way to recognize the students as they reach this milestone during an unprecedented time, Wilkin said.
In his report regarding the state’s plans to reopen the economy, Wilkin said that personal choice of individual citizens should matter.
Wilkin said he was not down-playing the seriousness of COVID-19, but when big-box stores are able to stay open and small businesses are not, there’s a problem. As an example, he said he could go to Walmart to buy his wife a necklace for Mother’s Day, but he can’t go to the small, local jewelers to make the same purchase.
“I have been in Walmart and I can tell you I trust that a smaller, locally-owned business would be able to protect me better than the bigger box store with hundreds of people in them,” he said. “Why are we letting our smaller businesses and restaurants suffer while their bigger competitors thrive?
“We have businesses that are struggling to figure out if they will be in existence when the government actually lets them open,” Wilkin said. “I want our businesses open right now.”
Wilkin said he is “ready to reopen Greenfield and allow personal choice to prevail.” A lot has been learned over the last several weeks, he said, and a large part of that education has been the necessary precautions to take to protect against illness.
“Why can’t we as human beings with unalienable rights make our own personal choices?” he asked. “If we want to go to a restaurant and eat, that is our personal choice. If we want to go to a park and play a game of Wiffle ball, we should be able to make that decision because of our own personal choice.”
Council member Mark Branham agreed, saying, “I believe 100 percent we should be open for business.” He also reiterated what Wilkin said regarding the relative safety of patronizing a small business versus the safety of going to a bigger business containing hundreds of people.
On another matter, a virtual business roundtable was held last week with several local businesses taking part. Wilkin reported that a majority of the industry should be back up and fully operational by the end of June.
Wilkin concluded his report with these words, “As we face the uncertainties of this virus and we see this pandemic affecting every nation on the earth, we should be praying for all people to know the glory of the Lord. Our nation was founded on the belief that we are one nation under God and we need to return to this knowledge, the knowledge that with God all things are possible and with God our nation can be healed from this virus.”
Branham also announced that Mitchell Park is now fully open for the community to enjoy.
As the meeting neared its end, council members spoke about all the good in the community in supporting one another, whether by mask-making and donating, making sure those facing extraordinary circumstances have support, or just seeing that someone’s needs are met in these difficult times.
Greenfield Village Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month in the council chambers in its new location on the third floor of the City Building. For Greenfield updates and information, go to greenfieldohio.net.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.