The turnout for Monday night’s second scheduled City of Greenville Town Hall meeting was much more impressive than for the first event on July 7.

“Needless to say, the crowd was much less than we have here tonight,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Herrin, who looked out at dozens of people who came to the Fletcher Warren Civic Center. Herrin stressed how vital it was to see such an interest from local residents in how the city operates.

“Your input, your feedback, is extremely important,” Herrin said.

City Manager Steven Alexander was also happy to see the boost in attendance, as the meeting was one of the efforts being undertaken by the city administration to reach out.

“We’re hoping to connect more with the public, to communicate with the public,” Alexander said.

As was the case with last week’s meeting, Alexander began by offering a presentation outlining the city’s vision statement, guiding values and goals, a long with details of the upcoming city budget. Alexander also touched on several key projects currently underway, such as the wastewater treatment plant upgrade, the Interstate 30 overpass and Highway 380 improvements, the establishment of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, the Cobisa project and the possible future of the former Austin Elementary School building.

Alexander then opened the floor open to comments and questions and, since there was a big turnout, he received lots of both.

Individuals asked about the status of the Greenville Towne Center project and commented on drainage issues in portions of the city and wondered about who is responsible for the upkeep in apparently abandoned lots, and foreclosed homes, in residential subdivisions in south Greenville.

Assistant City Manager John Adel noted the lots were all platted, or laid out, shortly before the recession began. Therefore, he said, it may be some time before construction begins on the properties.

“I think we have an overabundance of platted lots that are ready to be developed,” Adel said.

One of the subdivisions that had been platted in 2006 was the first phase of the Cottonwood addition, near the intersection of Jack Finney Boulevard and Traders Road, which was expected to include about 117 single family lots.

“Cottonwood has been taken over by the bank,” explained City Attorney Brent A. Money. “You talk about houses being foreclosed, that’s a whole development that has been taken over.”

“And those are our streets,” added Alexander. “That is very frustrating.”

Some of those who spoke up wanted the city to take action to curb the teenage skateboarders along Wesley Street, or offered suggestions as to how to provide a place for them to skate.

“A skateboard park has been one of the things we’ve discussed,” Alexander said, noting it has been included in a master plan for the Parks and Recreation Department.

“Right now, the issue is funding,” said Parks and Recreation Director Colby VanGundy.

There was a call to widen King Street, between Mitchell and Terrell, while Becky Crabtree wanted to praise the city’s code enforcement officers for helping clean up the area around her Park Street residence.

“I just want to express my appreciation for that,” she said.

Not everyone was offering compliments. Greenville NAACP representative Barbara Glenn read a statement condemning the Greenville Police Department.

“In the Greenville Police Department you have some corrupt people on there,” Glenn said, accusing the department of engaging in racial profiling and retaliation against certain families. Glenn called for change. “I just hope you will concentrate and start at the top.”

Alexander said he was surprised by the allegations, but promised to set up a meeting with both Glenn and Police Chief Harold Roseberry.

“My experience has been that we have a great police force,” Alexander said.

Jim Narramore wanted something done to address speeding motorists along Old Mill Road, while Teresa Young wondered if the city could establish a single location where residents could pay all of their gas, electric, cell phone and other bills.

Former Council member Dan Perkins hoped the city would make sure the local impact fees ordinance would be renewed before it expires this fall, was critical of the Herald-Banner for not posting more coverage of Council meetings and recommended the city find a way to televise the Council sessions.

Perkins also explained Greenville’s population is 21 percent African American, “a statistic that is not reflected in the employee workforce or leadership.”

Carol Roszhart commended the city for staging the July 4 celebration at the SportsPark, then urged the Council not to consider allowing alcohol in the city park system.

There was a question as to what would happen along the portion of U.S. Highway 69/Joe Ramsey Boulevard through central Greenville when the expansion of U.S. Highway 380 is completed in about two years.

Alexander said the city has met with TxDOT, to come up with a plan to extend Farm-To-Market Road 1570 from State Highway 66 to Highway 380, for use as an alternative to truck traffic. But neither the city nor the state has the money to pursue the project.

There were also several questions about the status of the Cobisa project, which is under an Oct. 1 deadline to begin construction on a proposed 1,750 megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant on 104 acres off of U.S. Highway 69 just north of the Greenville city limits.

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