Columbia gives residents an opportunity to sound off

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COLUMBIA- Residents of the central neighborhood area of Columbia are invited to a meeting Tuesday to discuss problems in their community. The meeting will begin at 6 pm at the Family Impact Center on Ash Street.

One of the meeting's facilitators, Carl Kenney, said one of the goals of the meeting is to address the economic disparity in Columbia.

"We are confronted with massive economic disparity in Columbia," Kenney said. "The city staff has been given the challenge of reducing that divide. We can't make assumptions regarding what it will take. What is clear is the need for a community response that includes members of the central community. It will take citizens of Columbia to minimize the divide."

KOMU spoke with residents of the central neighborhood to see what problems they would like to see fixed. Residents on Sexton Road complained of speeding cars in their neighborhood.

"The car's potential speed could get up to 65 down this strip right here and it does sometimes," one resident said. "So anything to slow the traffic down."

Kenney also stressed that creating a relationship between the city and the residents is important for creating trust.

"Meetings like these offer residents a chance to tell their truth," he said. "It is up to city officials to listen and respond to what is being said."

Many of the residents KOMU spoke with were unaware of the meeting. Richard Penrose, a long time resident of the neighborhood, said most of the people that should have their voices heard at the meeting have to work instead.

Kenney says the expected turn out for the meeting is 60-100 people.