Council returns to conversationPublished 5:58am Sunday, April 21, 2013
Conversations with the Council is back, but most of Austin may not know it yet.
City Council member Judy Enright and Mayor Tom Stiehm hosted Conversations, formerly known as Coffee with the Council, Saturday morning at Gymocha, but only three Austinites showed up. Still, the hour-long, informal meeting ran the gamut of topics, from the need for more street signs and biking directions, how to clean the proposed downtown stage, parks and waterways, to helping downtown businesses, attracting high-paying jobs to Austin, improving Mower County health rankings, and the need for a report from Vision 2020 on how its projects are going.
Dick Brekke of Austin said he attended the meeting for a chance to informally address concerns with council members.
“It’s a very good thing,” he said of the meeting. “It’s a lot easier to speak your piece.”
“Some feel intimated, they feel nervous [at council meetings],” she said. “Here, it’s more comfortable.”
Enright said they may move them to a permanent, central location, like the Austin Public Library, to accommodate larger crowds.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m hoping more will come. … Most cities try something similar.”
Conversations had been on hiatus since July 2012, when the Council stopped them to address meeting guidelines.