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An area of focus brought to the City’s attention thanks to the work of Equal UA, is a strong desire to explore options for the advancement of the community as a place that is welcoming, cohesive and inclusive. To help us get there, in the spring and early summer, UA resident Floyd Akins led a community relations assessment effort designed to help uncover the issues requiring our attention AND to develop a roadmap that will enable us to build on our strengths and shore up areas of weakness, so that all in our community feel connected, supported and valued.

More than 400 community members were directly invited to participate in two workshops, and an open invitation was extended to the entire community via various City communications channels. An online survey was fielded in early May, generating 133 responses that were used to help spark discussions at the two public workshops, which were held May 18 and June 5. In total, 85 individuals participated in the workshops. At the September 16 Conference Session, Mr. Akins and representatives of Equal UA discussed his “Upper Arlington Community Cultural Workshop Summary Report” with Council.

Subsequently, Council passed a Resolution to form a temporary Community Relations Assessment Committee to further review the series of ideas and initiatives generated at the workshops, as well as the recommendation that Council should consider creating a community advisory board. Committee members are: City Council members Michele Hoyle, Jim Lynch and Sue Ralph, Equal UA representatives Nic Fortkamp, Marianne Mitchell and Michelle Montgomery, Schools representative Tricia Fellinger, Library representative Jenn Faure, City Manager Steve Schoeny, Police Chief Steve Farmer and Community Affairs Director Emma Speight.

Over a series of meetings in October and November, the Committee has been working to develop a recommended framework, mission and goals for a new public entity focused on reaffirming and expanding positive community relations in Upper Arlington. The Committee is scheduled to bring its recommendation to City Council for its review and discussion at the December 2 Conference Session, with Council Action anticipated at the December 9 City Council Meeting. Both meetings begin at 7:30 pm, at the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.

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