Our Opinion: Help shape future of our community

Well done, Jefferson City residents.

Previously in this forum, we encouraged local residents to attend remaining town hall meetings focusing on proposed municipal projects.

About 40 people participated Thursday evening in the second of three scheduled sessions.

Although attendance was below the estimated 50 participants at the initial meeting, Thursday’s total continued a splendid turnout for a public forum.

We commend Jefferson City officials for hosting, inviting and encouraging a public conversation on future projects and directions for our city.

The focus of this series of town hall meetings includes: a conference center, a multi-purpose building, the prison redevelopment site and downtown parking.

Two of those focal points are concepts; the remaining two are realities.

With regard to the conference center and multi-purpose building, important questions include not only the degree of municipal commitment, but whether the city should be involved at all.

Separate circumstances surround the Missouri State Penitentiary redevelopment, because the city does not own the site. Therefore, dialogue must address an appropriate state-city partnership to attract a commitment of city resources.

Downtown parking involves yet another set of circumstances not only for the city, but for retailers, customers and — if a loft-apartment initiative prevails — a growing number of residents.

We applaud the community members who have shared their input, insights and ideas at the town hall meetings.

Although forums may be added, the last of the three scheduled forums will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lewis and Clark Middle School.

The forums provide an opportunity to shape the future of the community. It’s an opportunity worth seizing.

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