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Heart and Soul holds first gathering

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Close to 30 Finley Point and East Shore neighbors gathered at McCrumb’s Barn and discussed a wide variety of ideas with one another as the Heart and Soul Project held its first neighborhood gathering Sunday, Oct. 20, on Finley Point.  

As folks introduced themselves, some for the first time, and began a warm-up exercise led by project volunteers, several residents voiced one Finley Point issue.

In the event of a fire on the point, there is only one road leading out. Others in the know said that there is a plan in the works to let all residents know other evacuation routes. 

These types of discussions are key to the goal for the Heart and Soul Project — allowing Polson residents to state and discuss what values are important to them. In this case, Finley Point residents want a safe environment in which to live.

Those in attendance also wrote their wishes for Polson on small cards. A list of 32 wishes was created. These will be added to the Polson Heart and Soul Facebook page (, as will all wishes from neighborhood gatherings. The Heart and Soul website is under construction and will eventually also hold this and all information about the project. The core of the gathering was spent in groups of three, taking turns using a guide to be an interviewer, interviewee and note taker. Every person taking part thus had an opportunity to give his or her opinion on a variety of questions including: Why do you live in Polson? Where would you take a visitor so they could experience Polson? What would you miss in Polson if it wasn’t here? What about Polson is important to continue into the future?  What about Polson would you change for the future?

At least 20 more neighborhood gatherings are planned for the next seven months where folks will be in conversation with one another about what they love about Polson and what their hopes are for Polson’s future. Gatherings are being organized by geographic area and will include free food, door prizes, good conversation, and fun. The Heart and Soul Project wants to get input from every Polson resident, especially from those whose voices are not often heard.

Last December Polson was named one of five small American communities to receive the Orton Family Foundation’s Heart and Soul Grant, which provides matched funding to plan and carry out a community engagement process. Neighborhood gatherings are Polson Heart and Soul’s method of community engagement. Others supporting this effort are the Greater Polson Community Foundation, the City of Polson and many volunteers.  

As an end product of the project, Polson residents’ input will provide a document that enables both the public and policymakers to work together on common ground around issues that affect Polson’s future.

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