On the night of Thursday, January 28, the Mayor of LaGrange, along with select members of the city council, held the first of four town hall meetings, giving the public an opportunity to speak out on the issues that were on their minds. The Mayor opened with talk of some of the projects that are ongoing in the city, including the improvement of certain roads, the national chains coming to the mall, and many other projects that are happening in or around the city. He then turned the floor over to the public.
One of the first topics that were discussed was the beautification of the downtown area. Citizens wanted to know things that could be done to make the square and surrounding areas more appealing to people that live here and people that are passing through. One idea that was passed along by the Mayor was the idea of adding more affordable apartments and housing near the area that would bring in more people and in turn, more businesses and things to really spruce up the area.
Next, many of the citizens wanted to talk about the role the police and the protection of certain areas in town, mainly areas around East Depot Street and what can be done to make the area safer and more appealing to people looking for homes. The Mayor addressed these issues and said that as far as safety goes, the city has already added two more officers to deal specifically with gang violence and added more people on staff to serve as liaisons to the people.
The Mayor also spoke briefly on the new Sweetland Amphitheater downtown and how that will spark a huge wave of visitors and national acts to the downtown area. The theater, mainly funded by the Callaway Foundation, will be an amazing addition to the area as a whole and will spur economic growth and bring many positive changes to the city.
For many citizens worried about things such as sidewalks, roads, and other means of transportation, the Mayor brought up the Greenbelt project which is still in its very early stages. This would provide the city with a bicycle trail that would eventually connect the schools, public health facilities, and the recreational areas of town. This would not only be an amazing amenity for our town, it would also provide enormous health benefits to our citizens and be an overall positive change.
Additionally, a representative of the NAACP was on hand to discuss some of their issues. They spoke of the issues with the probation bills allegedly being added to the houses of the convicted’s loved one and having their families power turned off. He also spoke of what could be done to look into the equal race issues that are town has. The Mayor promised that the city would look into both issues.
These were just a few of the main points that were brought up at this, the first of four meetings of the Mayor and the city council. The next event takes place Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Hollis Hand School at 641 Country Club Road.
Please come out and voice your opinion to a Mayor and City Council that are genuinely concerned with your problems and your ideas.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer