(Posted Nov. 9, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Once a month, South Charleston’s village manager and police chief–and often one of the village commissioners–invite the public to chat with them informally at one of the shops in town. They call it Coffee & Conversation, and the idea is to offer a casual atmosphere in which anyone can feel comfortable sharing concerns, ideas, or praise about village government business.
The monthly, hour-long meetups started over a year ago as an alternative for residents who can’t or don’t want to attend formal village commission meetings but do want to share their thoughts with village officials.
“Being on record (at a formal meeting) is daunting for some people. At Coffee & Conversation, there is no record. People can say their piece and not have to have everybody in town be able to see it,” said Trecia Waring, village manager.
Coffee & Conversation takes place at 8 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month and rotates between Village Cup, 17 S. Chillicothe St., and All In Flavor, 9 S. Chillicothe St. The next session will take place on Dec. 7 at Village Cup.
To date, the feedback has been positive. Customers visiting the shops for coffee have stopped and thanked Waring or Police Chief Brian Redish for everything from prompt brush pickup to police officers going above and beyond on a call.
“We haven’t really gotten a whole lot of complaints. Nothing really negative at all. It’s been positive feedback,” Waring said.
That’s not to say they aren’t open to complaints, constructive criticism, or simply ideas of what residents would like to see more or less of.
“We would love to have more people come and sit down with us. If someone has issues or ideas they don’t want to bring to the meetings, we’d love to hear them. That’s why we do Coffee & Conversation,” Waring said.
It also has proven to be a chance to learn about activities, events, and services offered by different groups and entities around town. At the last Coffee & Conversation, one of the local pastors sat down with the village officials to tell them about his church’s volunteer work, children’s activities, and a harvest party open to the public. The village officials shared the event details on the village’s Facebook page.
To learn more about Coffee & Conversation, call South Charleston town hall at (937) 462-8888.