Neighborhood Leaders Forum to bring officials, residents face-to-face

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Manhattan community leaders and residents will have a chance to sit down with city officials over coffee next month.

The Neighborhood Leaders Forum will begin at noon on May 17 at Bluestem Bistro, 1219 Moro St.

The event is an opportunity for representatives of Manhattan neighborhoods to come together and have direct access to city staff members, said city management intern Brian Williams.

The forum meets once every three months.

Williams said the forum usually is attended by city planners, city commissioners, developmental officers, code officers, Riley County police officers and neighborhood representatives, but everyone is welcome.

“The intent of it is to … act as a sounding board for any representative that would like to direct any issues or ask for possible improvements in the neighborhood or city at large,” he said.

“We try to offer insightful suggestions and help accomplish what citizens would like to within their neighborhood.”

Officials can easily handle many issues brought up in the forum by giving neighborhood representatives the proper information and telling them how they can handle the issue, Williams said.

For example, if citizens have concerns about a pothole, missing street sign or a home with recurring code violations, neighborhood representatives can directly address the topic with officials, who immediately will try to take action.

Williams also said commissioners present at the forum will be able to discuss issues with the community and try to work toward turning major concerns into policies.

Adam Tank, freshman in microbiology and student senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said the forum seeks to make sure college students and the people of Manhattan understand security issues and code violations.

Traditionally, many issues arise in university towns, said Allie Lousch, administrative program coordinator, and communities like Manhattan really have to make the effort to work together.

“It’s not about saying, ‘OK, here’s an ordinance,'” Lousch said.

“We’re looking not only to educate the community, but also to build relationships. In simple terms, we’re going to do what it takes creatively and effectively to draw out the best of the neighborhoods.”

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