Local residents soon will get an opportunity to ask questions or discuss concerns with Gahanna City Council members in an informal setting.
Council president Brian Larick and vice president Tom Kneeland have been making plans to engage the public in discussion by providing opportunities to meet at local businesses.
"My hope is that these are used as a council 'Listening Tour' to better reach out to the public and hear what the community is thinking," Kneeland said. "Finding ways to communicate to the community has been an ongoing challenge, and this sure seems like a great informal way of doing that."
Larick said the goal is to establish the sessions as ongoing events so the public could engage with council members in an informal setting about issues, questions and suggestions they might have within their ward or across the city.
The first session is scheduled in Ward 1 for 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 19, at Tim Hortons, 365 Agler Road.
"These are intended to be informal-format, discussion sessions," Larick said. "Therefore, notes will be taken to aid in responding to questions, providing follow-up and distributed through the council Web page, as well as email to those that we have, but official minutes will not be kept and no special meeting will be called unless directed otherwise by the city attorney."
Larick said he would like to see the meetings cycle through each of the city's wards, with the council ward representative in attendance.
"I will be facilitating the discussion along with the representative for the respective ward," he said. "We will be providing the outline information that has been accumulating in our strategic discussions as a foundation topic, but a hard agenda is not planned. This is to allow people to ask questions and really engage with the public."
Other scheduled sessions are: Ward 4, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, Donatos, 1391 E. Johnstown Road; Ward 3, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, Panera Bread, 91 N. Hamilton Road; Ward 2, 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24, location being confirmed.