CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The City of Charleston is once again making it a priority for residents to have a voice in the community during a five-part series of meetings.
Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the return of the Here to Serve community meetings, where citizens get to meet with city representatives and council members, ask questions, share ideas and express concerns.
She said an initiative the city started back when she took office in 2019, it makes local government more accessible to the people, and the stage is opened up for them to present any topic that comes to mind.
“If you want to talk about our parks and rec system, if you would like to talk about our construction projects, if you want to talk about paving, if you want to talk about police or fire issues you may be having in your community,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said the directors of each city department, police chiefs and firefighter officials are all on hand and open for questions and concerns during these meetings.
The meetings will get underway starting Tuesday, September 19 at the Kanawha City Community Center and will go through until November 1. All of them will begin at approximately 6 p.m.
Along with giving residents a platform to voice their ideas and concerns over potholes, dilapidated structures, or anything else currently happening in their communities, Goodwin said it also gives them better insight into who they would need to call for future reference.
In addition, she said it gives them the opportunity to meet the new city council members that were elected to the team just this past year who citizens may have not gotten a chance to meet yet.
“At the end of the day, we serve the public, we are here to provide service, and we’re here to be held accountable,” she said.
Goodwin said the popular topics and concerns they usually hear people express at the meetings are the statuses on what’s being done to empty homes or buildings, and most particularly, about the ongoing paving projects.
She said despite the fact that the peak Covid-19 year in 2020 was the only year they did not hold the in-person meetings, they still took thousands of calls, but it made them realize the value and importance of meeting face-to-face with people.
“There is absolutely far and away no substitute for one-on-one conversations in-person with folks, that’s when you can truly understand, you can watch someone’s body language, you can hear the inflection and see it, and that’s what matters to us,” said Goodwin.
She added that the meetings not only give resident’s a voice on a matter, but real-time answers and solutions on how to fix them.
“Listen, we can guess all day long what people are interested in us working on and spending our time on, we can do that all day, what our job is, is to respond directly to people about their immediate concerns,” Goodwin said.
She said they also implemented a que alert system at city hall, so when a person calls in an idea or concern, the call is logged and each one is heard.
The following is a list of dates and locations on where each meeting will be held:
. Tuesday, September 19: Kanawha City Community Center
3511 Venable Ave, Charleston, WV
. Thursday, September 28: Mary C Snow Elementary School
100 Florida Street, Charleston, WV
. Wednesday, October 11: Elizabeth Memorial United Methodist
108 Oakwood Rd, Charleston, WV
. Tuesday, October 24: KCPL Main Library
Main 311C – TGKVF Mtg Rm
123 Capitol St, Charleston, WV
. Wednesday, November 1: Roosevelt Neighborhood Center
502 Ruffner Ave, Charleston, WV
Anyone who is unable to attend the Here to Serve events may use the online comment form to provide ideas, feedback, and comments to the City of Charleston.