At the most recent Coffee with the Mayor event, Mayor Chad Frank spoke about the importance of increasing the livability in Connersville.

Frank started by going around the table and asking several of the over 20 people that gathered at Stacks Restaurant on West 30th Street for the event how they defined livability.

Several ideas were given on what that term actually was, how the community presents itself, how people live their lives, addressing community needs and several other ideas were given.

Frank said that many of the ideas presented played a role in defining livability. Adding that it was a complicated issue that he has studied for a time.

One of the difficulties in studying the topic is age. Frank said each generation has different wants and needs that others may not see value in. Frank said that generating cinergy within the community was important, so all could work for the greater good of the community.

Arts and beautification of the city is something that Frank said is important to generation of that common goal. With that in mind he said in the coming weeks he would be going to a meeting in Columbus, Ind. to talk with local leaders about their art scene.

“Their livability is focused on the arts,” said Frank. “If you go downtown their theme is very arts district. Art is everywhere with the way they design there buildings with the way they have art everywhere, so I want to know how they did that. I want to know their model behind that. It may not fit here but I want to see how they did it.”

From there the conversation shifted to downtown Connersville. Revitalizing the downtown of the city is something that Frank said he felt was important.

“That is going to attract the younger generation,” Frank said. “That is an environment they want to see. When I went down to the high school their focus on livability was downtown. Which kind of surprised me. They like the downtown, so we’re focused on livability downtown.”

Currently there are several projects in place to address livability issues in the city according to Frank.

One of those was working with Whitewater Valley Railroad to use them as a tool to bring more people downtown, while creating more business for them.

Concerts and expanding their footprint was also a priority.

Another idea that was intended to be done this year, that will likely be shelved until next year is a farm to table event. Frank said the ongoing sidewalk project won’t allow this to happen this year, but explained the event and said it would be something to look forward to next year.

The event would see chefs brought in to prepare fresh meat and vegetables brought in by community growers to be served to the community as part of a downtown gathering.

“It’s just a nice event focused on everything that is produced here,” said Frank.

The city’s trail system is also a point of emphasis to improve livability in the community. Something that Frank said he did not realize at first.

“When I first got on city council, I hated trails,” said Frank. “I though they were a waste of money, to be honest, and then by accident I sat through a trail seminar. I walked out and said I am looking at trails 100 percent wrong.”

Community members also asked about blight in the area.

“You can’t drive through the town and look at this place and think this is a great place to live when you see these rundown trashy looking buildings,” Howard Price said at the event.

Frank said he was aware of the issues and that he has brought in a full time ordinance enforcer to help with the issue by giving citations to those who let their properties fall into disrepair.

“We got someone out there everyday that’s doing that,” said Frank. “We didn’t have that before. Are we going to get it all done in a month? No, but you can drive down streets and see a big difference.”

Frank said the city has begun to mow grass again, which had not been possible previously

Frank also took a few addresses that community members suggested as to places that had violated city ordinances.
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