Public input discussion revisited in Prairie Township

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Residents will be able to comment during the live Facebook streaming of board meetings, despite township leaders asking that comments be turned off. Prairie Township Administrator Rob Peters asked the board to turn off Facebook comments during the live-streamed meetings.

“This takes out the negativity and negative tone,” Peters said during a recent meeting.

However, according to Peters, the township was not able to do this because of technology challenges.

“Comments were never disabled on the township Facebook page,” he said. “We discussed this and then looked into. With the type of page we have, it is not an option to disable comments.”

The manner public comments are currently handled with the Prairie Township board meetings has been controversial with residents. Many residents have voiced frustration over the lack of public interaction during the meetings. Currently, questions cannot be asked during the meetings and instead must be submitted prior to the meetings.

Peters has said numerous times he cannot moderate comments during the meetings and run the meetings. However, the township has been working on new software to make the meetings more interactive with residents and will be introducing new software this month where residents can virtually ask questions live during the meetings.

“I anticipated in June or July that we were going to be getting guidelines from the state of Ohio to be able to conduct public meetings with proper spacing like retail and restaurant operations,” Peters said. “This did not happen. We purchased a web camera and upgraded from Webex meetings to Webex events which was put into use on Jan. 12.”

In other news, township residents are waiting to find out if a new restaurant will be put in the concession stand at the Galloway Road Sports Complex.

In the fall, township resident Rob Connors presented the board with an innovative way to use the concession stand at the complex. He had a proposal to lease the concession stand and turn it into a restaurant the players, coaches, families and visitors could use while they are at the complex.

“We would call it the Snack Shake and it would be more than a concession stand,” he said. “We would sell your typical concession stand items like candy, pop and hot dogs, but we would also sell more specialty items, like barbecue or fried items.”

According to Peters, the township is still considering the proposal.

“Staff will make a recommendation to the trustees on the options for operating the Prairie Township concession stand,” he said. “The trustees will then determine if we operate as a township facility or contract with a vendor.”

Peters provided no other details or timing on when this decision would be made.

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