Lompoc has always had potential. One of the ongoing challenges for Lompoc that we discuss at the Economic Development Committee is how do we maximize our potential while working with very limited resources.

Almost every city in California is dealing with budget issues, retirement costs and strained resources. Lompoc is not alone in this challenge. The budget is limited and it may be some time before things on the ground improve. So, how do we balance the current challenges with future successes?

On the EDC, one of the elements that we continue to encourage is the connecting of “dots” in the community. From a big picture perspective, this means that we need the various sectors communicating more about mutual goals.

For example, we might consider that the school district needs to be connected more with the city and the business community. The city needs to be more connected with Vandenberg. Those who care about community pride and beautification need to be more connected with tourism. The wine industry needs to be more connected with the non profit sector. Etc., etc.

This may seem too simple, but let's think about it. The need to “connect” is not to insinuate that what is currently happening isn't adequate. It is quite the opposite: There are so many wonderful people and groups that, on a daily basis, contribute greatly to individual successes all over Lompoc. If we can continue to align ourselves towards a common purpose, perhaps those individual efforts can be compounded to create a larger and lasting impact.

So how can citizens get involved in helping to further connect the dots? First, we have to show up. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Nonprofits: Art, music, theater, education, the homeless — there are several nonprofits in our community that are making a great difference. Not sure where to start? Consider groups such as the Lompoc Theatre Project, the Certain Sparks Music Foundation, The Lompoc Mural Society or Lompoc Valley Art Association, the Healthy Lompoc Coalition, the Home for Good ... the list goes on. Let's not forget about the great efforts from groups such as Rotary as well as many in our faith-based communities

Learn more about the community: Check out the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce at Lompoc.com, Leadership Lompoc Valley, ExploreLompoc.com, The Lompoc Historical Society, etc..

Government: Aside from attending meetings, several city committees and commissions offer great opportunities to be engaged at the policy level. You can learn more by visiting https://www.cityoflompoc.com/government/committees-boards.

These are just a few ideas on ways to become involved. Whether you can attend a City Council meeting, join a committee or volunteer in an area that you are passionate about, there is always a way to help.

No matter what, Lompoc needs all hands on deck. This community has a tremendous heart. We have our challenges but, if we can align our efforts, perhaps we can share in successes that raise the quality of life for all of our citizens.

While we locals know our “main” street as H Street, it’s important to remember that it is also part of California’s famous Highway 1. This highway brings thousands of tourists through our city as they discover new parts of our state.

We are constantly looking to improve. If you are thinking of volunteering and/or participating in discussions that impact our city, we hope that you will consider the Economic Development Committee. Our committee has a few openings coming up and we would welcome additional ideas and perspectives from our community. Please attend one of our meetings to learn more about the topics we discuss. If you are interested in joining the EDC, please download an application at http://www.cityoflompoc.com/government/committees/list.htm.

To stay updated on the EDC’s progress throughout the year, like the “Lompoc Economic Development Committee” page on Facebook. Also, the EDC’s meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the City of Lompoc’s website.

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Building the Future Today is a column by the Lompoc Economic Development Committee. The column runs on the first and third Sundays of each month. To contact the committee, please email j_mcginty@ci.lompoc.ca.us.