Why Bridgeport? Special Levy Election, Quality of Life

By Jon Griffith on May 13, 2023 from Why Bridgeport? via

The more and more I ponder “Why Bridgeport?” and my time living in Bridgeport, one thing that constantly rises to the top of my mind is our quality of life.  That simple phrase can be difficult to define.  The reason is that everyone has a different view about what makes their lives better or more fulfilling.  There is no definite formula for achieving the best quality of life.  Even attempting to fully describe what makes up the best quality of life for a community in this blog would likely find its fair share of detractors and critics.  So I won’t attempt a definition.  Nor do I believe I have a complete and comprehensive grasp of what it should be even if I tried.  Instead, I want to discuss a few things I think most people would agree that enhance the towns in which they live and consequently improve their lives.    
In my coaching career and penchant for in-state vacations, I have had the privilege to travel across West Virginia and visit many of our towns, cities, and counties.  One of the first things I notice when I enter a community is the state of its roadways.  They amount to a welcome mat for the town.  Roads that are smooth and inviting versus rough and pot-hole ravaged.  They often reflect the community's financial health and the town leaders' focus and goals.  The availability of sidewalks along those streets is another indicator of the city government's commitment to caring for its citizens and visitors.  Roadway and sidewalk maintenance may be expensive, but it is a critical component of a municipality's duties and one that can help make or break the quality of life in a community.  Bridgeport has made this a priority.  Our annual street paving and sidewalk program is very proactive in repairing bad spots in our roads and repaving on a rotating schedule to keep ahead of the curve and prevent damaged roadways before they occur.  Another part of that work is stormwater management.  To keep our streets from becoming rivers during heavy rain, we must develop ways to move runoff from businesses and residences out of our roadways.  Our Engineering and Public Works departments are diligently working to improve the existing stormwater management system.  In addition, they are providing additional measures to direct and remove more runoff from our roads effectively.  
When I visit a community, I often look at its parks, trails, and recreation facilities.  These are another expensive proposition not only due to the initial cost of installation but the constant maintenance required to keep them safe and up to date.  A quick observation can tell you much.  How high is the grass?  Is the trash emptied?  Is there rusted or broken equipment?  Are trails smooth and safe?  Are the athletic fields maintained and playable?  So many factors to consider and keep up with.  A quality Parks and Recreation Department has little downtime.  Here in Bridgeport, the men and women of the Parks Department work tirelessly to keep our parks, trails, and facilities clean, safe, and up-to-date.  They keep our pools operating, decorate Main Street in keeping with the current season, maintain our athletic fields, help clear snow and ice on our sidewalks, repair playground equipment, replace picnic tables, work on the docks at the lake, and so much more.  They never even slow down, much less stop working.  
As a former educator, another landmark I look for in a town is its library.  A strong and vibrant library often correlates directly with how much importance a community places on education.  Is it an afterthought or one of the fundamental resources serving all ages?  Providing not only books and magazines but programming and amenities geared toward specific groups and the whole community.  The Bridgeport Public Library is certainly not an afterthought.  The range of services and activities offered there is nothing short of amazing.  Whether within the building itself, online, or part of its ever-expanding outreach services, the library is available to every member of our community and beyond.   
Safety is one quality of life issue that can never be taken for granted.  Perhaps the most significant responsibility municipalities face is the protection of their citizens.  Dependable, responsible, and responsive police and fire protection are the heart and soul of community safety.  They are indispensable in times of danger or threat but also serve as a deterrent to help prevent crime and fire from occurring.  Their watchful gaze often goes unnoticed until needed, but knowing that they are there and their presence is just a phone call away, gives us peace of mind.  The Bridgeport Fire Department and Police Department are among the best trained and best equipped in the state.  With strong leadership, the outstanding men and women working in these departments are dedicated and prepared to help keep us all safe.  The renovation of the Main Street Bridgeport Fire Station and the upcoming construction of a new Bridgeport Police Department shows our commitment to ensuring the continued safety of our citizens and community. 
As you can see, I believe that Bridgeport has always done a great job addressing these “quality of life" issues in our community.  City officials and community leaders have placed a high priority on these areas for decades.  These are not the only contributing factors to quality of life, but importantly these are the ones that are to be voted on in the upcoming Special Excess Levy on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.  
Voting for the levy does not increase taxes.  It is simply a continuation of our current tax rates.  It is most assuredly a vote to continue the quality of life we all share in Bridgeport.  Are you in favor of exemplary roadways and sidewalks?  Do you enjoy having well-maintained parks, trails, athletic fields, and recreational facilities?  Is providing a vibrant and accessible library important to our community?  Is public safety important to you and your family?  If you answered yes to even one of these questions, I would ask you to vote YES for the Special Excess Levy.  
Why Bridgeport?  For more than sixty years, the citizens of Bridgeport have voted in favor of the Special Excess Levy to provide for and maintain a high quality of life for our community.  The citizens of Bridgeport have always had high expectations and strive for excellence.  We understand and recognize the importance of the functions and services supported by this levy.  The levy is a critical step in reaching our shared goal of continuing to improve and maintain the quality of life in Bridgeport.  A vote in favor of the Special Excess Levy is a vote in favor of our families and our community.    

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