Fraley: Citizen participation needed at March 7 meeting

How should the City of Berea plan for the next 2, 5 or 10 years? City officials are hoping to get public input at a Community Listening and Design Session at Madison Southern High School Cafeteria. The two-hour session takes place on Thursday, March 7, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served at the meeting.

The public conversation is designed to be citizen-driven, touching on a wide range of topics affecting the future of the city, including job creation, infrastructure like streets and sidewalks, water resources, public safety, beautification, environmental protection, tourism expansion, planning and development, regional cooperation, and many other topics that impact the quality of life in Berea.

The community townhall is part of the Berea City Council’s effort to shape the strategic plan, giving council members the opportunity to hear ideas, suggestions, and concerns of local citizens, while also giving residents the chance to voice their opinions about the city’s priorities and possible plans for action. The discussion will be moderated by community development advisors from the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC).

Last month, the Berea City Council met to sketch out a preliminary list of priorities, but the March 7 meeting gives citizens their chance to contribute and be heard on what they want for their families, businesses, and for the future of Berea, said Mayor Bruce Fraley. “When the city last did this (strategic plan) in 2017, one piece I thought was missing was input from the public,” Fraley said. “I think it’s important for city officials to listen and this is designed to be a listening session, just to hear what people have on their minds. We need to make sure that the goals and objectives of the council are concurrent with the expectations of the citizens,” Fraley said.

Berea City Administrator Randy Stone agreed on the importance of having citizens attend on March 7 to give their input. Said Stone: “This gives the citizenry the opportunity to make comments about the city’s goals for the next two years, but more importantly, it provides a chance for the community and the city council and mayor to look beyond, to set a course for the city and think about where we want our city going in the next five to 10 years. This strategic plan needs to set a foundation for a five to 10-year work plan for the city,” Stone said.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Berea City Council, resident Steve Wilkins expressed hope that the council would be receptive to citizen ideas at the March 7 session. For example, Wilkins described his vision of creating a festive walkway/corridor that would stretch from College Square to Old Town. “That’s just one idea…but I encourage the council to fully fold in all ideas into the strategic planning process,” Wilkins said.

Madison Southern High School is located at 279 Glades Road. For more information about the meeting, contact the City of Berea at 859 986-8528.

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