Booster

June 10 meeting at Whetstone

Columbus council wants to hear from Clintonville

By

Columbus City Council, the roadshow version, is coming to the Whetstone Community Recreation Center.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 10 at the center, 3923 N. High St., council members, their staff and various department heads will be on hand for some face-to-face conversation with Clintonville residents.

This marks the first time a City Council committee meeting has been held in Clintonville since the series of gatherings was launched in 2011, said Council President Andy Ginther.

For Ginther, a Clintonville resident, it's going to mean a shorter drive to the meetings that have taken place in such locations as the Feddersen Community Recreation Center, Barack Community Center and the Martin Janis Senior Center.

"This won't be nearly the trip some of the others have been," Ginther said last week. "This year, we wanted to make sure we went to places we haven't been before.

"It's been a great opportunity for council to interact and connect with residents in a more-informal setting."

With the city's population topping 800,000 people -- and that population growing more and more diverse -- Ginther said it's important for elected representatives to meet with people where they live and listen to their specific concerns.

While certain issues are more or less important depending on the section of the city, the council president added there tends to be a common thread running through what comes up at the community meetings.

"We hear about a variety of issues, but almost all neighborhoods and leaders from these different communities want some of the same things," Ginther said.

They include safe neighborhoods, access to parks and greater economic opportunities, he said.

"Their hope, obviously, is they and their kids are going to have opportunities to get good-paying jobs and stay in Columbus," Ginther said.

In some neighborhoods, concerns are voiced about drugs and gang problems, while in others, economic development is front and center for residents meeting with their council representatives.

"It varies, but it's always somewhat consistent," Ginther said. "We've gotten some great ideas through these sessions."

These include suggestions for infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks and cleanup of abandoned gas stations.

Turnout at the community meetings has grown since they were inaugurated almost three years ago, and Ginther said he expects the gathering at the Whetstone Rec Center to be well-attended.

"My neighbors have never had a problem sharing their thoughts, priorities or concerns with me, whether it's in the Kroger store or dropping off my little ones at daycare," Ginther said. "My friends and neighbors in Clintonville are very involved and not shy about expressing themselves."

Comments