Logan residents looking to get more involved and improve their community can participate in a new grassroots organization.
Better Logan, which launched last week, was founded by James Olson, who works in the city’s community development department. However, Olson will manage it on his own time.
“I decided to (start this) because I get up at neighborhood meetings, and I implore people — especially in the small group setting — I say, ‘You got to get together, and there’s a lot that you guys can do to make your community better.’ ... I’m being paid while I say that. And I thought, ‘You know, what am I doing to kind of live what I’m preaching here?’”
Olson said the organization is informal and does not intend to take in any money.
A website (www.betterlogan.org) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/betterlogan) have been launched, each encouraging people to join the “One Small Step Challenge.”
Olson explains the challenge as an “invitation” for residents to select an issue on their block, neighborhood or citywide and strive to make improvements.
“Doing something — whether a small step or a great leap doesn’t matter — to make the community better is the most important,” Olson said. “But a close second priority is to share what’s been done.”
He observed that some people don’t feel right about drawing attention to what they’ve done or are working on but insists the sharing of each other’s initiatives is a powerful way to inspire each other to go out and do more.
Olson views sharing about initiatives as having parallels to explorers recording their paths on a map that could then be used by others.
“They waded through the terrain, painstakingly charting the best course they could find, and then brought back the information to make it easier for the next person that would pass that way,” he said. “If anyone has created a snow removal program for their block or coordinated a neighborhood cleanup activity, for example, why not save someone else from having to reinvent the wheel?”
At www.betterlogan.org, people will learn about a variety of community initiatives, including the following: the creation and work of the River Hollow Neighborhood Alliance; a couple’s community gardening model; and a growing effort to bring the arts community together to paint alleyway murals downtown.
Better Logan will make presentations at no charge to groups of at least eight about how to carry out initiatives at a local level.
“It doesn’t matter to us if we present to a group of your friends and neighbors, your service organization, or your church group. If you’re looking to make an impact anywhere in the city, Better Logan wants to support that,” Olson said. “We’ll be happy to come share more about our philosophy.”
He said Better Logan is also in the process of developing its first event — to take place in April — intended to get members of the community involved and discussing ideas.
Olson can be contacted at 435-760-9603 or via email at email@example.com
He said it’s important his work with the city remain separate from Better Logan.
“Much of what I do as a city employee is working towards accomplishing what Better Logan is aiming to accomplish,” Olson said. “But they need to remain separate to ensure that Better Logan remains an untainted, citizen-led initiative.”