Input desired on Community Center

17 years ago

I’d like to use this article to restate a central theme that I have written on before and then narrow it to a specific project. It all has to do with citizen input. The city provides multiple opportunities to convey its “messages” to the citizens it serves and also to receive input. My first focus will be on how the city conveys its messages.
    The city holds many public meetings. Let’s start with the City Council. The seven member elected board is the highest elected board in the city for municipal issues. It holds regular public meetings that often include formal public hearings. It offers the opportunity at each meeting for citizen comments.
The City Council also appoints various boards like the Planning Board and numerous advisory boards such as the Airport Advisory Board that also hold public meetings offering the opportunity for citizen input. All of these boards then attempt to get the votes from these meetings, or messages, to its citizens in various manners. For example, the minutes of the City Council meetings and other meetings are posted on the city’s Web site. The city is fortunate to have print, television and radio media cover its meetings and events involving the city.
Now, for the reverse of this on how citizens can convey their messages to the city. First, there is the election of City Councilors. But, that is just the beginning. Citizens should continue to take an active role it its local government. Many citizens volunteer to serve on committees and give freely of their time, which is always needed and appreciated. The continuation of this effort is to keep informed and continually provide input.
This now leads me to my main topic, the proposed Community Center. The City Council appointed a citizen’s committee in September 2006 to explore a new Community Center to replace the Haskell Center located on Main Street. The Committee has been diligently working on the vision and needs of a new community center, has narrowed about 30 possible sites to four and has had its recommendation on selecting an architect/engineering firm to assist in site location and conceptual design approved by the City Council.
The Committee needs, and wants, citizen comments on its work to date and how it should proceed in the future. This is an important project that will have long term benefits and costs to the city and should not, and can not, be made without meaningful input from its citizens it intends to serve.
So, if you want to provide your “message” you need to get involved. The best way to do this is to attend meetings of the Community Center Committee or at the City Council. You can also Chris Beaulieu, Recreation and Parks director; Kevin Sipe, chair of the Community Center Committee; or me. I hope you take us up on our offer.
    Thomas Stevens is Presque Isle’s city manager. He can be reached at