With four meetings passed since its inception, the Lansdale Business Association and Economic Development Committee monthly town hall has discussed topics ranging from clean streets and First Friday to Founders Day and the performing arts center.
Attendance fluctuates with each meeting: the first one was chock full of business owners, but recent meetings brought out a handful of residents.
The idea of better communication about the town hall meetings and the meetings’ purpose was at the top of the agenda Tuesday night in the Lynn Janoff Community Room at Lansdale Library.
“We don’t want to develop irregularity,” said councilor Mary Fuller, head of the Economic Development Committee. “Maybe people don’t want it. But as long as people show up, I’ll be here. Is it worthwhile? I think so.”
There were seven people present for Tuesday night’s meeting: Milestones in Music’s Steve Jones, resident John Darab, residents Rich and Nancy Frei, resident Linda Breithaupt, resident Steve Malagari and Water Elemental Crafts and Fine Art Gallery co-owner Aaron Wiener.
LBA President Doug DiPasquale believed that consistency will pay off for the town hall session.
The town hall occurs the fourth Tuesday of each month, except in December.
The big thing is for people to know the sessions happen once a month and the town hall is more of a forum atmosphere where people can “come and complain about stuff.”
“People are invited to speak and you get a response,” said Fuller. “It’s a forum for a two-, three-, or four-way conversation. Council is not the venue for that.”
Fuller said now is the time for residents and business owners to be involved in the town hall sessions because council will be working on the 2012 budget.
Jones recommended making the Lansdale Borough website the primary source for getting the word out about the town hall sessions.
“You can have other things link back to it, so you are not necessarily replicating everything,” he said.
Darab said there will be “more excitement” when the borough site is improved. Fuller said there was an offer from Annie Rex, wife of John Rex of Rex Heat Treat, to help develop the Discover Lansdale website.
The first meeting of the town hall was held at the library, but then was moved to the parks and recreation building for more space. On Tuesday, the meeting was back at the library.
Fuller said having the session at borough hall would cause the town hall to be formal.
“Our thought was if we move away from borough hall, it would be less formal,” she said.
Jones said the town hall “draws out communication and sharing of ideas.”
Fuller said that’s what the town hall is and what people should know – you show up, throw out topics, and have a place to speak your mind.
One difference between the first meeting and the recent meetings is that Fuller and DiPasquale went business to business inviting them to the event.
Darab suggested putting a bulletin in the parks and recreation newsletter that goes out to residents.
Briethaupt added that the LBA is looking to resurrect an LBA newsletter.
“I find that, instead of going to the site, an email invite works. I get an email invite from Lansdale Patch, and I can click. I don’t go find it,” she said. “Maybe if we put a letter out that invited is to see what (town hall) was about with one click.”
Residents can visit the Lansdale Borough website and sign up to be part of an email list. This email will let residents know what’s going on in town.
“The news comes to you,” DiPasquale said.
Fuller said this kind of effort could help, as information can be released to residents that is accurate and correct.
There was also a mention of using UStream to broadcast the town hall sessions live on the web for those who cannot attend.
“This kind of thing would not happen a year ago,” said Darab, “but you need a town meeting now and again.”
Why do you or don’t you attend Lansdale’s town hall meetings?
Are Tuesday nights bad for you?
Do you not care about topics in town and leave it up to council?
Are you shy about sharing information in public?
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