Tonawanda News — The Kenmore Village Improvement Society, it with the intentionally Victorian and ironic name, threw itself a birthday party last weekend under a big tent in Mang Park. Few members of government attended, but nonetheless it felt as though all the individuals of practical significance in that little jewel of a community were present.
They celebrated the fifth anniversary of an enterprise I initially doubted. Ink spilled by this newspaper back then, under my name, suggested the last thing we needed was another layer of government, an organized group of do-gooders with definite ideas of how Kenmore should look, feel and be run. I think I tossed in the term “vigilante.”
An early brochure of the KVIS included helpful hints on being a good neighbor, with suggestions about lawn care and the volume of outdoor music. I was not interested in another nag to tell me what I was doing wrong.
What I was did wrong was doubt the civic-mindedness of this group.
“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” Margaret Mead famously said, and this bunch personifies that spirit.
Who are they? They could better tell you than I, but they’re the ones who present “Kenmore Kate” on Groundhog Day, put the plywood candy canes on the light poles of the business district in December, run decorating contests for homes and shops, make that gazebo south of the Village Green look welcoming, organize parties for real estate brokers who fill those vacant storefronts, run the remarkable summer children’s concerts on the lawn of Kenmore Middle School and about three dozen other things.
All on donations and volunteer time and labor, without government involvement and under no one’s purview but their own. The KVIS is free to join, incidentally.