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Not all news was negative in Troy in 2020

By: Eric Czarnik | Troy Times | Published December 20, 2020


TROY — It’s easy to focus on the bad news that took place throughout 2020 — there was so much of it: especially COVID-19, its cancellations and the economic fallout. But Troy officials and community leaders recently shared some silver linings to the year that might otherwise be overlooked.

Troy Mayor Ethan Baker said in a text message that a lot went right in Troy this year despite many people being happy about the year’s end. He recalled residents’ generosity as one positive recollection.

“I will never forget the outpouring of love and care from our residents in the early days of COVID — whether it was the handmade masks that were sewn and distributed, or the food and beverages donated by local restaurants to our first and frontline responders,” Baker said. “Ours is a community that cares, and it was never more evident than in spring when the pandemic hit.”

Baker also honored Troy City Clerk Aileen Dickson, her team, and voters for their participation in the 2020 elections, which he added were “two safe and secure elections, each with record turnout.” Baker was also grateful for a “new cohesiveness” among City Council members and city administrators, noting a level of respect and decorum, even when people disagree.

“We will never forget the bad of 2020, but we should never forget the good things that happened too,” the mayor said. “Looking forward to 2021 and all the good that can happen next year!”

Over at the Troy Police Department, Sgt. Meghan Lehman said her department came together and worked as a team to successfully handle a “variety of challenges.”

In the wake of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and an intensified focus on law enforcement procedures, in June the Troy Police Department presented on social media its guidelines pertaining to the use of force, training and hiring, and community policing. While a scheduled community forum on the topic had to be canceled due to the pandemic, Lehman said, she described her department’s interactions with the public.

“We have also had the chance to hear our citizens and truly appreciate the high level of support we receive,” she said in a text message. “We were a good law enforcement agency before this, and this year’s challenges will only make us better.”

Phillip Kwik, the Troy Public Library’s interim library director, talked about the success of the library’s curbside delivery service in 2020. He also mentioned how the library was flexible in arranging craft projects for children as well as providing digital content.

“I think the pandemic forced us and the library world to recreate some of our processes and to figure out ways, even though our building is closed, to get library service delivered to the public,” he said.  “We’ve done a fantastic job. … If there’s a silver lining, it’s the library rising to the challenge.”

Carla Reeb, the executive director of Troy’s Stage Nature Center, said the nature center closed its programming down for almost four months when the pandemic hit. However, the nature center’s trails remained open daily from dawn till dusk, much to the delight of visitors, she explained.

“We literally had hundreds of visitors walking the trails daily while practicing safe social distancing guidelines,” she said.

Reeb said some visitors thanked staff and volunteers who maintain the trails of the estimated 100-acre reserve. She said some even sent notes of appreciation for being there during the difficult times.

“People really appreciated having the trail for people to enjoy for outings where they felt safe and could socially distance,” she said. “We feel like we were a big benefit to the community these last eight months.”

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