We gave Measure R our best shot and we’re incredibly proud of the vision we created. We’re proud of Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District. We’re proud of people in this community who used their voice to promote growth in their town.

Now, let’s keep that momentum going.

Going into Election Day, we felt truly honored. We didn’t know if it would become a night of cheers or disappointment, but we did know we gained something incredibly powerful — new friends of the parks.

We thought we already knew a lot of people, but we leave this experience with a new set of community-driven friends, who, like us, see our town for all the amazing things it is and all the inspiring things it can become. They have a burning desire for something bigger. They want to improve tomorrow, so future generations are as fortunate as we’ve been.

Measure R was a huge leap toward that goal. One that we believe would have, in the long run, cost taxpayers less. The majority of voters didn’t see it that way, but that doesn’t mean we stop working for our residents. We have parks that need improvement, trees that need our care, restrooms that need replacing, and the list goes on and on.

Our goals are still the same. The journey to this vision will be slower now, but the daily effort of providing the quality programs and well-maintained facilities will continue.

We’re not going to hide our disappointment. Honesty with our emotions is one of the best ways to build communication and bring positive change.

We looked at the period before an election as a chance to educate. Campaigning is built into elections but using that time and the resources to truly educate voters is the key. It should never be the loudest voice, but the most informative that grabs the masses.

Thank you, dear community. We love it here and will never stop working for Tehachapi. We all want greater quality of life, a strong local economy, healthy options for our families and a community that grows with the times. My team will keep working on that, for you, and all who follow.

Michelle Vance is the district manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration from Cal State Bakersfield and has lived in Tehachapi for 26 years.