The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

April 6, 2013

Engaging the public

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — This week, the Greenville Parks and Recreation Department requested input from residents on what kind of playground equipment to install in Oak Creek Park. The innovative campaign collected dozens of votes via Facebook, and the winners will be announced on Monday.

We applaud the Parks and Rec Department for including the Greenville community in such an engaging way. Residents often feel at a loss to impact the ever-changing landscape of their community. This campaign empowered them to do just that.

Since the residents will be the ones using the park, it makes sense to allow them to vote on what kind of equipment will be installed. With this vote, residents also have a new sense of responsibility for the park; after all, they are the ones who chose what it would look like.

While this kind of survey doesn’t have practical applications for every city service, we encourage the city to pursue other opportunities to gather input in this creative way.

There are some drawbacks to the campaign– some residents may not have a Facebook account, or be following the Parks and Rec Department’s Facebook page, or have heard about the contest.

But it is the residents responsibility to be engaged in their community. Just like municipal elections, residents have the ability to impact how their city is operated. They should take every opportunity possible to become engaged in that process.

The opinions expressed here are those of the Herald-Banner editorial board. The board can be reached at