Open Forum: City Council is a community service | Winchester star

In the 25 years that I have had the good fortune to call Winchester our family home, I have sought to understand how our community works and find ways to help make it even better.

This has led me to engage in strong and ongoing involvement in local government, to be involved in and support our valued non-profit organizations in the area, and to invest professionally and personally in community revitalization.

I am humbled and honored to have always been recruited or invited to serve in the organizations or leadership positions I have held. I have always considered my involvement, whether as a member of the municipal council, participant and leader in many community organizations and municipal and regional councils and commissions, as community service. The more I learned about how the city works, the more opportunities I found to keep giving back. Municipal administration is complex and requires in-depth knowledge of systems and processes to make sound decisions. This same knowledge is essential for evaluating the functional effectiveness of the community, its professional staff and local leaders. Winchester is very fortunate to have many skilled and knowledgeable employees who manage our complex city on a daily basis.

When we agreed that I would serve on city council, my wife Sarah and I pledged to donate my remuneration as a member of city council to local non-profit organizations. Our local non-profit organizations provide valuable services to our community. Their missions are tailored to the specific needs of the inhabitants and often free up city resources. From my first days here, I have been struck by the dedication of the citizens of Winchester to volunteerism – whether in their neighborhoods, in their schools or churches, or directly with our area nonprofits. It is important for the city to work closely with non-profit organizations. This collaboration creates a bridge between public and private entities and amplifies the services available in the community for the benefit of all.

My professional training is in architecture and urban planning. My passion is the preservation of historic buildings and places that are such an important part of the history and fabric of an evolving community. Giving new purpose and vitality to our structures through adaptive reuse is critically important to continuing the story of our community. Sometimes it can be difficult and requires creativity to combine the historical character of the city with the needs of our future. As a community, we all benefit from encouraging investment and revitalization as a commitment to the long-term success of our city.

I believe in our city and its citizens; by working together, we can share our achievements. I consider myself lucky to be able to combine my passion and serve for the good of our community. I look forward to your support as a candidate to continue serving on your city council, as I truly believe that service to the city council is community service.

Richard Bell is Winchester City Councilor for the First Ward.

Norma P. Rex