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Chapter 7

Study Background

     One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.

                                   — Shannon Alder

Six circles, final.jpg

The View from Our Front Porch   

   When my wife, Diane, and I retired from teaching, we returned to Montana to be near family in Missoula. We purchased and remodelled the house on Willis Street across from the wading pool. During our first summer in Plains (2020), we noticed a lack of shade trees, picnic tables, and summer coverings (gazebos). Sometimes the wading pool was closed because a lifeguard was unavailable to work.  


   So I began a series of conversations with the mayor and town council members to bring more summer amenities to the park. At the end of summer 2021, five tall trees were planted, three gazebos (12x14 feet) were purchased, and three concrete pads were poured. In the early spring of 2022, the gazebos will be installed on the concrete pads, and new picnic tables, which are wheelchair accessible, will be under each gazebo.


   This summer, 2022, I will be talking with the mayor and our town council members about converting the wading pool into a splash pad. Lifeguards are not required to be present at a splash pad as the water is less than an inch deep. Parents can turn the water on and off as needed.


   As the originator of this study, I would like to acknowledge and give credit to those communities, state and federal agencies, and Montana universities for their research and experience in visioning and planning programs.

   I have adapted from multiple sources the concept of a broad-based study led by small focus groups to learn and continue the working idea of building a shared community vision. 


   There is plenty to do, as you see from this site. So don't be shy; please contact me or someone you know volunteering in a community group. 


                             Dr. Charles W. Bickenheuser, OFS, EdD

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