By Amanda Ensinger
The Prairie Township Recreation Department and the Prairie Community Health Action Team (CHAT) recently hosted their first community conversation at the Prairie Township Community Center.
“The purpose of this meeting is to figure out what recreation opportunities we currently have in the westside and what new offerings we should work toward in the future,” said James Gant, director of the Prairie Township Community Center and moderator of the event. “We want to know what’s important to the community and what future programming they are interested in.”
Approximately 30 people attended the roundtable conversations and were split into groups of four. During the conversations, groups discussed various topics then shared their answers with the group.
Participates were encouraged to break into different four person groups per discussion question in an effort to meet their fellow community members.
“The reason we did it in this format is because it allows more people to talk and we get more insight from more people,” Gant said. “No one person is dominating the conversation and more people are engaged.”
None of the questions during the conversation focused on CHAT related topics, however Gant said that later this year they plan on doing a roundtable solely focused on health.
“For this conversation, they just helped us advertise and promote it within the community,” Gant said. “However, they want to lead a conversation that discusses health in the future.”
A few of the questions asked during the recent conversation included what current recreational programs are in the community, what programs would residents like to see in the community and what barriers residents face in being a part of recreational programs.
While residents acknowledged there is already a lot to do in the community, they overwhelmingly said there could be more. Some of the new programming they were interested in included community gardening, after school programming, dance classes, sand volleyball, disc golf and a walking or biking club.
Residents also said the biggest barriers in getting involved in the current programming the township offers includes a lack of leadership, not enough communication about programming offerings, transportation issues and the timing of when events take place.
The township plans to host several of these meetings a year, however no other dates have been announced.
When asked how this information will be used, the township advised they are still figuring that out.
“We will collect all this information and share it on the website,” Gant said. “It also could impact future programming and recreation in the community.”
For more information on these community conversation meetings, contact James Gant at 614-907-7994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.