Town Hall Meeting Covers Local Community Issues

On Tuesday March 28th the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs, the FSU Office of Civic Engagement, and the Student Government Association (SGA) held another town hall meeting to cover the local community issues that students felt needed to be addressed.

This town hall was held with several county, city, and university officials in attendance.  The town hall meeting began with about 50 people in the room as others continued to come in shortly after the start of the program. The room was set up with 14 round tables that sat about eight people each.  With good attendance at the event came attendance from Commissioner of Public Works Woody Getz, Commissioner of Public Safety Walter Mackey, Main Street manager Jessica Palumbo, business owner Barbara Armstrong, assistant vice president Bill Mandicott, and interim vice president/government and international affairs Dr. John Bowman.

Mimicking the agenda of previous town hall meetings, political science faculty member and director of the Beall Institute, Tim Magrath, instructed each table to introduce themselves to each other and to start with simple dialogue about the local community issues they have noticed.

The very first issue that was mentioned was the parking shortage on campus.  This was brought up by student Hunter Wright who was asking if anything was being done to meet student needs or if it was just a sitting issue.  He also gave some ideas as to how it could be fixed.  His comments were responded to by Student Government Association (SGA) Senator Emma Edwards.  She is on the parking committee that is working to find solutions to the ongoing parking problem.  She explained what was happening within the committee and what they were trying to do to find a solution.

Another ongoing issue that was brought up sparked the discussion about the Main Street events.  A student mentioned the idea of more initiatives for students who are not of age to go to a bar, or who simply do not want to spend time at a bar.  Commissioner Woody Getz, and Main Street manager Jessica Palumbo both responded with the schedule of upcoming events that are geared towards getting students out into the community.  The Arts Walk is being held on April 29th from 3-8pm, and Find Frostburg is on May 13th from 1-3pm.  More details about the events can be found at

In the same mindset of offering more activities, it was brought up that there should be more on campus.  The director of civic engagement Patrick O’Brien responded with all of the events that are offered on campus through the Lane University Center.  He specifically talked about Late@Lane, On the EDGE series, and the Cultural Event Series.

A major issue that students face here is the ban on skateboarding.  Wright spoke up again on something that he holds dear to him.  With a background in skating he explained that he believes it would help battle the drug epidemic in the county.  There used to be a skatepark open to the public until it was recently closed down.  Wright explained that there are ways to get another park up and running.  If the concern is money he told officials to contact the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Other issues that were mentioned included the condition of on campus housing.  There were several complaints about the condition of certain buildings, and students were wondering if anyone was aware of how bad it was.  There was a resident assistant in attendance and was able to speak on behalf of the Residence Life Office to say that they were aware of the issues, and they were working to implement solutions.

There were several other local community issues that students brought up that created dialogue between students and other officials.  Professor Magrath stressed to all of the students before the close of the meeting that these are for us to enact change.

On Tuesday April 4th, sponsored by the J. Glenn Beall Jr. Institute for Public Affairs and the Office of Civic Engagement, there will be a bus trip to Annapolis.  This trip will include a tour of the statehouse and a photo-op with Governor Larry Hogan.  You can register at the Lane University Center Box Office, however; there are limited seats.

The next town hall meeting will be on April 11th at 6pm in the Lane University Center Atkinson room.



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