04/05/07 — City plans new round of meetings with citizens

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City plans new round of meetings with citizens

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 5, 2007 1:46 PM

Gunshots, flooding and teens roaming the streets at all hours of the night were just a few of the concerns voiced by Goldsboro residents during last year's city-sponsored neighborhood meetings.

City officials said they are not sure what issues will arise this spring, but they are ready to take to the streets again as a new wave of meetings has been scheduled to begin in May.

Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan said the meetings will follow a similar script to the ones held last year -- a pizza dinner followed by introductions from elected officials and staff and an open discussion between concerned neighbors and city leaders.

"I just think it's an opportunity to have open dialogue, to see what the citizens' concerns are," she said.

The first meeting is scheduled for May 15 in the Mimosa Park and Teakwood area. Rain washed out last year's meeting in that neighborhood.

Ms. Logan said efforts will be made this year to establish even closer relationships between staff and residents in an effort to ensure new community leaders emerge.

"We hope to identify a group of residents who know their communities and can help solve their problems," she said.

But until they are voiced, there is no telling what those problems might be, she added.

"I think it really depends on the area," Ms. Logan said. "In some areas, you hear more about drainage problems. Then you have some that are more concerned with maintenance issues and others are worried about public safety. It runs the gamut."

Residents will have more than just the opportunity to speak into the microphone, too. Department heads, including Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell, will be available for one-on-one discussions, as well.

Ms. Logan said getting out into the community and meeting concerned residents has had a positive impact on the city.

"I think it's been an opportunity for us to gather information from the residents themselves, to see what day-to-day problems they are actually facing," she said.

After the May meeting, the city will host one gathering per month through September -- one in the Riverside Street area, another in the Claiborne and Walnut streets neighborhood and another near Quail Park.

More specific dates, times and locations for the upcoming meetings will be announced as they are confirmed.