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Volunteer Station a wise move

Last month, the chairwoman of a city planning committee told Pilot Point City Council members that residents are an untapped resource that the city should use to achieve its goals, and on Thursday, a new focal point for volunteer energy officially became part of the city’s downtown.

Someone must have been listening.

Joyce Duesman’s comment followed a visit to Pilot Point by a team of city planning experts who toured the city, interviewed residents and city officials and studied the city’s strengths and weaknesses. The city received a grant to obtain the professional help last year.

Team members also presented suggestions to Pilot Point officials, who have been working on a new comprehensive plan and a vision statement for the city’s development. Officials named their project the Plan for Living and Community Excellence.

Duesman, a Pilot Point resident who serves as the project’s steering committee chairwoman, told council members that the team’s visit generated a lot of community interest, resulting in residents expressing a desire to volunteer for future improvement projects.

“I was really amazed by the residents willing to volunteer,” she told council members in March. “There is a lot of untapped talent in the community and several people are willing to donate their ideas and time to volunteer.”

Residents now have a place where they can take their ideas and find out how they can help the city. On Thursday, a grand opening was held for Volunteer Station, located at 301 S. Washington St.

Officials said Volunteer Station is intended as a gathering place for residents who want to volunteer for jobs around the city, and they hope the new addition will also help keep interest in redevelopment efforts moving forward.

“The center is in downtown, but we want it to serve the entire city,” Duesman said last week. “It will be available to use free of charge for meeting space for any committee or group that is working on projects that will be volunteer in nature and aimed to improve the community.”

Volunteers are leasing the building through donations they’ve received from residents and businesses. The center, located in a building that was once a gas station, will initially be open three to four days a week.

We think that providing a center for volunteer action in the heart of one of Pilot Point’s greatest assets — its historic downtown — is a wise move that will continue to pay dividends.

As Duesman said, residents have a lot to offer, and if people want to help, the city should give them an opportunity to do so.

We commend Pilot Point leaders for being open to new ideas, and we hope other cities take note — small steps like the one made Thursday can lead to big accomplishments down the road.