Elissa Yount: What’s our SWOT?

What is our community’s SWOT?

Each of you are invited to come up with your SWOT for our community and I wish you would share them by posting comments under this article on Home In Henderson.

SWOT is an analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that can obstruct reaching a goal. We must first agree that a proper goal for our community is for us all to live in a healthy, safe, prosperous, caring, and progressive community.

Let’s start with our strengths. My first choice for the strength of our community is its people. In this small community, just about all the help we need to make a community work is available from friendly, honest, dependable people. From electricians to plumbers, from seamstresses to repairmen, from beauticians to landscapers, from servers to housekeepers to nursing aides — help is available in a timely and professional way. As our community ages, this is a big plus.

Some would argue that there are too many people who live here who are not invested in this community. They choose to live here only because they can get easy assistance through food stamps, Medicaid, and vouchers. While this argument has its merits, I still say that the strength in this community is in its people.

Narrowing down our weaknesses is difficult. In my lifetime I have witnessed a sad deterioration of our community, and I see the problem spreading. I am forced to say that our biggest weakness is failure to make long-range plans and follow them. Because we have not done this, many parts of our community lie in blight and squalor. With long-range planning, this would not have happened. With long-range planning, we would not now be so helter-skelter in our vision. We would have maintained the standards of a progressive community.

The best opportunity that we presently have is the opportunity to make the best of High Speed Rail. This is one transportation asset that can turn this community around. We must use it to the best of everyone’s benefit. This opportunity can and will pass us by if we do not put forth the effort to prepare. Our location along US 1 and Interstate 85 has not provided the economic stimulus that is possible, and we could lose the same stimulus of High Speed Rail if we do not become aggressive in our actions.

A threat, and a most serious threat, is our failing infrastructure. The aging and deteriorating water and sewer lines are not going to magically become whole. As you look at other communities that have scheduled ongoing replenishing efforts, you can see that waiting for something to break and then repairing it does not even come close to being adequate. This threat will not go away. Ignoring it will not make it go away either.

In our community we can sell our strengths and opportunities, and we can correct our weaknesses and remove the threats, but it takes money and it takes unselfish leaders doing what is best for everyone.

A long time ago, when Henderson started to slip behind the rest of the state in pride, commerce, and education, a former resident asked me what was wrong in Henderson. I jokingly told him that people with sense had no money, and most people with money had no sense. That was rude and sarcastic, but even then I surmised that it was greed that was taking us down.

While greed has played a part, ignorance has played a bigger part. No longer are we ignorant about how our government works for us. Because of Home In Henderson we now know more about our community, its elected officials, and its management than we knew five years ago, and I think readers will agree.

Whether or not readers agree that this is a good thing depends on where they’re coming from.

The excellent video coverage of meetings is a powerful indicator of what is going on with our government. We must continue to insist that our elected officials listen to us when we say we want to end unfair taxation, we want preparations for the High Speed Rail, and we want infrastructure replaced and we want a clean city. We must be firm when we tell them we want them to get the job done and stop playing lip service.

Work on your SWOT. Then give all the elected officials an earful. Let’s turn all our weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities.