Hilliard Headlines: Talk2Us keeps residents in touch with city leaders

DAVID BALL
City of Hilliard

We’ve written before about how seriously the city of Hilliard takes its efforts to engage with the community and listen to our residents’ feedback.

We also know it’s not always convenient for residents to attend public meetings to voice their concerns. So how can we ensure everyone’s ideas can be heard and shared as part of a civil, open dialogue?

David Ball is director of community relations for Hilliard.

In September, we expanded our community engagement efforts with a new online website, talk2us.hilliardohio.gov. The response to Talk2Us thus far has exceeded our initial expectations and already has helped city leaders in their decision-making.

Through Talk2Us, the city posts information about current and future projects and then opens the door for public comment and dialogue. The comments are moderated to ensure discussions are civil and meet a few basic standards, including appropriateness of language and prohibiting personal attacks.

Some of the projects on Talk2Us will have a significant, long-lasting impact on our community, such as this fall’s Cemetery Road Corridor Study.

Other projects are comparatively small but are ones we know the community has strong feelings about.

A great example was whether or not Hilliard should hold Beggars Night in light of COVID-19 coronavirus safety concerns. When we asked that question in early September, our community members spoke loudly and clearly that they believed trick-or-treat activities could be done safely. That feedback played a role in the city’s decision to move forward with this family-fun tradition from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29.

Related story:Hilliard Headlines: City leaders committed to community feedback

Talk2Us provides a variety of ways for residents to share their ideas, including open forums, mapping tools, the ability to share photos and signups for updates on specific projects.  

We’re receiving lots of interesting feedback through the site.

We’ve heard from many residents that they’d love to see Cemetery Road become a vibrant and more aesthetically pleasing gateway into our community. Some want the feel of Old Hilliard to continue into this area, while others want a more parklike setting. When a plan for the corridor is completed, you can be sure all this feedback will have been part of the dialogue.

We’ve had residents make suggestions for new recreation and parks programs and amenities, such as basic automotive-care classes or a skate park. And we’ve had residents bring to our attention maintenance items, such as places grass needs to be mowed in Hilliard medians.

In just one month, nearly 300 people have signed up to be part of this online dialogue, and more are registering for Talk2Us every day. 

Frankly, we’re enjoying this new forum for conversation. We enjoy hearing residents’ thoughts about upcoming projects, developments and programs. We want their opinions about big topics and small. And we want to give the community a platform to share ideas online, 24/7, whenever and wherever it’s convenient.

So if you are ready to Talk2Us, we’re here to listen.

David Ball is director of community relations for Hilliard.