Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Small Cities Use Talk Show Format to Share Big Ideas

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Small Cities Use Talk Show Format to Share Big Ideas

Article excerpt

A lively talk show format engaged audience members in a free exchange of ideas, as leaders from small cities and towns shared information about innovative programs in their communities.

The Small Cities Sharing Big Ideas session, at the Congress of Cities in Nashville last December, featured a "talk show host" as well as three panelists from NLC's Small Cities Council.

After each panelist spoke, the host led a fast-paced question and comment segment which kept the audience of nearly 200 interested and engaged, and also kept the microphone runners on their toes.

The first panelist, Mayor Eddy Ford of Farragut, Tenn., spoke about the active participation of the city's residents on volunteer committees and review boards.

Residents can apply to serve on committees that review signage in the city, plan holiday decorations, examine planning decisions, and perform a variety of other tasks. Each committee is required to report to the city government twice a year with its goals and achievements.

He explained that by incorporating the hours of over 200 volunteers, the city is able to more efficiently use the time of its paid employees. Farragut has one employee who oversees volunteer programs.

Mayor Ford also explained that the city holds several events to show its appreciation for these volunteers, noting that "Every April and May we give two major banquets, one for committee volunteers and one for our fun volunteers ... we make these people feel important by saying 'thank you.'"

His presentation was followed with several comments from other leaders about the importance of recognizing volunteers in the community, as well as opportunities to involve youth in volunteer activities.

The next panelist, Councilmember Mark Worrell of Monroe, Mich., spoke about the redevelopment of 14 brownfields in his city. …

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