Thank You for Your Service to Edgewater: Myra Keeble

In a small town like ours there are public servants who seek the good of our community and we love to spotlight them. This month brings the end of Myra Keeble’s service to Edgewater on City Council as she prepares to move out of Edgewater. As new City Council members transition into their roles, we asked Myra to reflect on her time on City Council.

What did I enjoy most about serving?

Small but Mighty. That’s what I think of when I think of our City, our citizens, and our Council. Our little city, sandwiched between three much larger municipalities has done great things. I love how we are small, but we grapple with big issues, and we come up with solutions that are uniquely our own.

Because I am about to actually move far away from Edgewater, my home for the last 15 years, I am struggling with answering this about Council alone, and perhaps that’s exactly the point… Serving on Council and living in this community are interwoven so tightly together that it is a challenge to separate the two. I love being able to know so many citizens. I have knocked on doors and had great conversations in people’s kitchens, across bar stools, and in Council Chambers. I will cherish those conversations, and I will miss them. I will miss walking through our pretty little town, and I will miss being involved in making decisions about our community, whether the decisions relate to funding infrastructure under our streets, or struggling with growth issues like parking, or 20th and Depew. Our actions matter because we know our neighbors. What we do is tangible and it is important.

What will I miss?

I’ll miss the citizens, my colleagues on Council, and City staff. I’ll also miss the challenge. Some of the work we did was hard, but it was important work, and sometimes I really had to struggle with myself to come up with what I thought was the best solution to an issue. It was hard to take an unpopular stance, for example, but I am proud that I did so. I had to use my brain as well as my heart, and I had to be willing to live with that. I worked hard to “not sit on the fence” or the sidelines, but that can be tough sometimes. I’ll miss that.

Advice to new Councilmembers?

A couple of things come to mind when I think about advice:

First, I try to keep a mantra in my head that says, “Assume the best intentions.” Seriously, coming at problems and issues from a positive place is really helpful. Sometimes I don’t agree with everyone’s approach, and at times people’s personalities can get in the way of hearing an important message that is being conveyed. I often need to remind myself that I was elected to listen to everyone, regardless of if I agree with them. It helps to try and hear what a speaker’s “best intention” is, in order to find a starting point for productive dialog. It sounds cliché, but this is actually hard to do sometimes.

Next, don’t just focus on your strengths on Council – Rather, find a way to better understand your weaknesses, too. For example, I recognized in 10th grade geometry class that I was spatially challenged in terms of interpreting diagrams. This makes reviewing site development plans difficult for me. Thus, when plans came up for review, I work with others to really get my head around a plat, making sure I understand all the potential safety implications of entrances, exits, site obstructions, level of clearance for emergency vehicles, etc. I also tried to find comparable sites to look at that helped me see how a building takes shape, based on similar plans. Similarly, when Council was reviewing building heights, setbacks, bulk plane, and allowable square footage, I asked City staff to help us out with examples of numerous homes to look at, in order to see how these decisions would impact neighboring homes. This was incredibly valuable and I feel like we were able to make smarter decisions as a result.

Final thoughts?

I’m so proud of our small but mighty city. As I prepare for my move to Maine, I realize how much I’m going to miss everyone. I’ll stop back from time to time – I can’t wait to see the new Civic Center, 20th and Depew, the Gold Crown Clubhouse, and all the new businesses that will sprout up next. Our community is changing, but it also has its own unique character.

Most of all, I just want to thank everyone. Thank you for giving me the chance to serve as your Councilwoman for six years. I have loved it and it is still such a huge honor to serve you.

Be well.

1 Comment on "Thank You for Your Service to Edgewater: Myra Keeble"

  1. Pauline York | Dec 7, 2017 at 9:19 am | Reply

    We will miss you,you did a great! job on council. Take care and email me from time to time.

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