The city's graffiti-removal program and residential curbside recycling launched last year grew out of meetings between elected representatives and their constituents, Columbus City Councilwoman Eileen Y. Paley said last week.
She and her council colleagues will have additional opportunities to get good ideas from the public beginning Tuesday, Feb. 26, when a continuing series of community meetings resumes.
The first of three gatherings, featuring all council members, their aides and representatives from various city departments, will be held at Fedderson Community Center, 3911 Dresden St.
Past sessions at that venue have been attended by Northland and Clintonville residents, as well as those in North Linden.
The other two scheduled so far this are set for:
* Tuesday, March 19, at the Barnett Community Center, 1184 Barnett Road.
* Tuesday, April 9, at the Westgate Community Center, 455 S. Westgate Ave.
All sessions run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and are open to residents from any sector of the city.
"It's really interesting because since the recession, the neighborhoods have become more interested in themselves," Paley said. "I'm surprised at how crowded they are.
"They usually come well-prepared," she said of residents who attend.
Paley, who serves on the public utilities and public service and transportation committees, has seen representatives of Block Watch groups and civic associations arrive at community meetings carrying whole notebooks of issues they want to bring to the attention of their elected representatives.
"They have specific wants," Paley said. "I make sure that every single person gets a response.
"It helps us know what people want in terms of their priorities," he said.
"It's actually really productive."
The gatherings are "designed to give residents a chance to discuss any subject matter they choose in an informal, one-on-one setting with City Council members, their staff and key city department leaders," according to an announcement about the three sessions from council spokesman John Ivanic.
The meetings begin with a welcome and introduction by Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther, who helped establish a regular schedule for what had been an informal series of sessions with constituents in some parts of the city.
Few who attend go away unhappy, in Paley's experience.
"Quite frankly, I get more happy people than sad people, even if they have a problem, because their problem gets resolved or they get a good explanation for why it can't be resolved," Paley said.
"Our doors are always open. We let them know it doesn't have to stop there," she said. "We give them our cards, our phone numbers. Our aides talk to them.
"I think it's a great idea. I think Andy hit the nail right on the head," Paley said.