A beneficial arrangement
In years past, those people who attended City Council meetings were, for the most part, the mayor, council members, city staff and the media. Every now and then, some issue in the city would attract a few more attendees.
In the past three years or so, attendance at council meeting has grown. That’s a good thing. What’s bringing people to the meetings? They’re showing up because there’s a specific issue in which the have an interest — and their interests vary.
Not that long ago, the Council Chambers were filled with people opposed to a city plan to kill up to 50 geese in the Jack’s Creek basin. Speakers made impassioned pleas for the city not to kill the geese, even if they were a nuisance at times.
The council voted against implementing the plan.
On several occasions, people filled the Council Chambers when the council discussed the proposal to change the configuration of 15th Street from Carolina Avenue to John Small Avenue. Residents and business owners made it clear they were opposed to the N.C. Department of Transportation proposal, saying it would create more problems than it would solve. They contended that if the changes were made it would adversely affect property values, make it difficult to access some businesses and worsen an already problematic drainage situation in that corridor.
The council rejected the proposal.
When the city sought permission from the Historic Preservation Commission to demolish the Carter house next to Brown Library to make room for library expansion, that plan drew crowds of people who wanted to save the house to council and commission meetings. Many speakers urged the council to find a way of saving the historic house.
The council heard their voices. Currently, the city is working with Preservation North Carolina to find a buyer for the house, a buyer that would find an acceptable use for the structure.
It’s heartening to see city residents getting involved with issues in which they have interests and attending council meetings to provide input which the council uses to make decisions.
Such an arrangement benefits the residents and the council. Let’s see more people show up at council meetings.