Piqua Commission hosts town meeting


By Aimee Hancock

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PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission held a “town meeting” Thursday evening at the gazebo downtown to gather with residents and field questions, comments and concerns.

The open forum-style event was one of several that will be held this summer, according to commissioner Cindy Pearson.

Around 15 residents attended the event, and there were a variety of questions asked and comments given.

Ruth Koon commented that she and other residents were upset with the painting of a section of the Fort Piqua Plaza. The paint job — black paint with gold trim — was done on the storefront of the incoming restaurant The Scottish Thistle.

“I think the stakeholders of this $23 million (renovation) project should have been told about this prospect,” Koon said.

Commissioner Kazy Hinds responded that the decision to paint the section of the building was unanimously approved by a committee of city administrators, commissioners, and commissioner-appointed members. The decision was also presented to and approved by the Planning Commission.

Edna Stiefel inquired about what is to be done on Main Street with reference to the recently-added delineators.

“We essentially had to provide a way to safely move traffic throughout the square here … This is the interim fix,” said City Manager Paul Oberdorfer.

Oberdorfer said the previous placement of the large planters on the street posed a liability for the city and a new solution was needed. Plans for the future include a study to determine which solution will be best for the city.

Oberdorfer noted that an alternate solution is needed, rather than simply getting rid of planters and/or delineators, because these naturally slow the flow of traffic and allow for increased pedestrian safety when crossing the street.

Larry Hamilton spoke briefly regarding the issue of racism within the country and local community, adding that it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the city’s history regarding the issue of racism. Hamilton said he would like to see the commission be more proactive with inclusivity and diversity.

“I’ve been to Piqua City Commission meetings several times within the last month and I haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer as to how the Piqua city commissioners and the city manager is going to offer some solutions to what they stated is a problem of racism in our community,” Hamilton said.

Mayor Kris Lee responded that the commission intends to reinstate the city’s now-defunct Committee on Community Diversity. Lee said the commission will discuss this issue at its next meeting with the hopes to fill the seven-member positions and restore the committee as soon as possible.

Other questions and comments fielded by the commission involved issues like speed enforcement in various spots throughout the city, additional street and traffic problems, and the topic of further transparency and ways for residents to stay informed on issues within the city.

“One of my concerns and something we’re working on as a commission — and I think this today represents that — is to try to be more communicative and transparent with people,” commissioner Chris Grissom said.

Grissom said the commission is looking for feedback from residents with regard to the best forms of communication — whether it be via email, the city website, a blog, social media, or in person.

The next open forum/town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, at the gazebo downtown.

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