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Pawnee Rock illustrates volunteer-led concept
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Volunteer-led communities offer us a glimpse of what is both best and sometimes worst in all of us.  Sometimes, apathy prevails, and we see the gradual decline of a town, as residents struggle to answer the question, “who cares?”  For those on the outside looking in, that may have been the impression of Barton County’s City of Pawnee Rock for several years.  
But sometimes the downward slide can be leveled out, and a community can once again find its inspiration as Pawnee Rock has.
Mayor Linda McCowan, City Council President Deb Bader, and council of dedicated residents and a staff with heart have come together in recent months and years to turn around the city on a shoe-string budget.  Its a lot like pulling weeds in a neglected garden.  At first, the task seems too tedious, and the idea of getting out the Round-up, killing it all and starting over is attractive.  But with a little elbow grease and patience, the weeds can be pulled, revealing an underlying struggling garden that only needs some care to be revived.
City ordinances, a Municipal Judge, third-party accounting, a very capable City Clerk and a dedicated Maintenance Director, new energy at the fire department, a grass-roots produced newsletter, and ongoing community engagement is starting to make a difference.  New residents are moving in, and not only that, they are willing to help make their new home a better place.
 “I am happy to report there are many in town that are responding well,” McCowan said.  “The town is starting to shape up nicely, and people are starting to show pride in what Pawnee Rock is.”
She followed this statement with kudos to the city’s dedicated employees.  The Great Bend Tribune gives kudos to Pawnee Rock, who by improving itself, improves the county for all of us.