Community assessment kindles Lockwood’s can-do spirit

Originally published in the 12/8/17 print edition of Yellowstone County News.

LOCKWOOD — A lot has been happening in Lockwood the past few years.

Who and what is behind all these community-transforming events?

A “community assessment,” held in 2013, brought about communication and motivation that helped advance a host of projects in Lockwood that had long been on the community’s wish list.

Such was the conclusion of many Lockwood leaders, last Wednesday, who participated in a review of the community assessment, conducted by the Resource Team coordinated by the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA).

Headed by Gloria Higgins and Gloria O’Rourke of MEDA, the gathering at the Lockwood Fire Department was essentially a community-wide conversation of the many Lockwood citizens who have been involved in Lockwood’s most recent achievements. Funded by a special grant, MEDA is returning to the numerous communities in which they have conducted assessments to determine what has been achieved and if there are ways to improve upon how they conduct the assessments, said Higgins.

The Resource Team is sponsored by the Montana Department of Commerce in cooperation with Big Sky Economic Development.

Lockwood has demonstrated, by far, the most successes of all the communities in which they have done assessments, said O’Rourke.

Participants were asked to talk about what they perceive as their successes and to explain what they perceive to be the reasons for them.

The community assessment helped to draw attention from the broader community to the issues faced by Lockwood, was the essence of many comments. The event also encouraged more involvement of more citizens, most especially by younger people.

It gave momentum to “ideas that had been germinating in Lockwood for years,” said Sue Vinton, Lockwood’s state legislator. It especially motivated young people, said Vinton, recalling what seemed to be a “mini-reunion” of parents who attended the assessment meeting and who later encountered each other at a school event. The impact, of the opportunity for Lockwood people to see “their shared values, has been significant.” read more

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