Community Development Council holding forums

March 11, 2004|GARY MOYERS

Katie Jo Kirkpatrick says the annual Community Development Council's forums are examples of true democracy in action.

"They're an opportunity for the citizens of Boyle County to meet and there are issues they think are important," said the executive director of the CDC. "Each person in attendance will have the opportunity to point to what they feel are the most pressing needs in the community, and then all the people in attendance will vote to narrow those issues down to the top items."

The community forums will be held for the fifth year beginning Tuesday at Junction City, and will include meetings at Perryville and Danville High School. They are open for any resident to attend.

"The input we receive allows the various agencies that are a part of the Community Development Council to focus their efforts on dealing with the issues the people think are important," said Kirkpatrick. "Each participating agency deals with issues specific to their focus. For instance, Heart of the Bluegrass has dealt with parking structure issues. We've had a number of projects in the news right now that first came up at these community forums."


Last year, for instance, the aforementioned parking structure in downtown Danville was voted the top community-wide issue as well as the priority item for Danville/Boyle County. Junction City's number one concern was water and sewer improvements, and Perryville's top item was a U.S. 150 truck bypass.

"Three years ago the idea of locating the Arts Center in the Federal Building (on Main Street in Danville) came up, and now it's a reality," said Kirkpatrick. "These ideas that come up at the forums actually do matter. They receive attention because the citizens say they need attention."

The format for the forums is identical. At each meeting, a moderator will question each attendee about their concerns and ideas, and questions will be answered by participating agency representatives. Near the end of the meeting, a vote will be taken to narrow the issues discussed to approximately 20. Another vote will be taken to narrow that list even further.

"In that manner we'll establish the top issues that face each community, as well as the list for Boyle County in its entirety," said Kirkpatrick. Forums have set economic development priorities and provided local governments and organizations with information for their short and long range planning, according to the CDC Web site.

Locations and times of the forums

Locations and times for the three forums are: Junction City Community Center, 7 p.m. Tuesday; Danville High School cafeteria, 6:30 p.m. March 18; and Perryville Community Center, 7 p.m. March 23.

Participating agencies include: City of Danville, Boyle County Fiscal Court, The Heart of Danville, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service, Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission, Boyle County Industrial Foundation, Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, Danville-Boyle County Convention and Tourism Bureau, Centre College, Junction City, City of Perryville, and Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association.

CDC will also hold a discussion forum at 6:30 p.m. April 15 at Grow Hall on the Kentucky School for the Deaf campus in an effort to "bring together local leadership and citizens to discuss issues that affect the entire community," according to an agency press release.

Kirkpatrick said the forum is an open discussion opportunity to voice concerns about development issues in Boyle County. An outside moderator will be present to facilitate the discussion.

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