Brainerd Town meeting planned for Sept. 8
In an effort to foster better dialogue with Brainerd residents, the city will hold its first town meeting in September.
The brainchild of council President Mary Koep, the town meeting will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the Brainerd Fire Hall meeting room.
“It’s an opportunity for people to visit informally with the council and staff, get to know them ad ask questions they wouldn’t ask otherwise,” Koep said.
Koep said the meeting will include detailed information about each department listed on wall posters; a paper survey for residents to identify city strengths and weaknesses; an activity letting residents state their funding priorities; and time for general discussion, questions and suggestions.
Koep said the city will have two or three topics to offer if people would like to discuss them, but the conversation would not be limited to those.
“If people have other ideas, comments, suggestions, we want them to come and tell us,” Koep said.
Koep said came up with the idea in June out of a special council committee she serves on with council members Bob Olson and Bonnie Cumberland. She said both endorsed the idea of a town meeting.
Koep said she liked the idea because she’s always enjoyed talking with people in an informal atmosphere and she likes for people to be able to speak freely. She said council members always listen to constituents and others, but there’s also a lot of people who would never call a council member with an idea or concern.
Koep said the meeting will be very informal.
“Maybe you have an idea. Is it something can take and work with?,” Koep said. “I hope when it’s done, we not only have heard from people but we have a few suggestions we can follow through with.”
It won’t be all talking.
Ice cream cones will be served from 6-6:45 p.m., and coffee and cookies will be offered while they last, Koep said. The food is being donated by local businesses.
“It’s just a town meeting, a time for people to come together, talk, visit, get to know their council members, get to know their department heads and give us ideas,” Koep said. “We’re just trying to have a time that will be enjoyable for people to come, stay and visit.”
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.