- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Scranton City Council on Monday informally created four committees to solicit from stakeholders ideas for improvement.

Council held a work session at City Hall that stemmed from Councilman Wayne Evans’ pitch to the public in June for ideas. He and council President Bob McGoff and members Joe Wechsler and Bill Gaughan set the following ad hoc committees and co-chairman assignments:

—Real estate/development, Mr. Evans and Councilman Pat Rogan, who did not attend the work session.

—Small business/downtown, Mr. McGoff and Mr. Evans.

—Technology/smart city concepts: Mr. Wechsler and Mr. Gaughan.

—Arts and culture: Mr. Wechsler and Mr. Rogan.

Next, the co-chairmen will contact 10 to 15 stakeholders from each subject area and ask them to participate.

“We have some really talented people out there that have some really great ideas,” Mr. Evans said. “We’ll see who’s interested, who steps up and wants to participate.”

Each committee would meet once or twice to receive ideas and then forward them to council. It would winnow ideas to pursue those that are readily doable and easy to implement. After a first round, the process could start anew with different groups and stakeholders, Mr. Evans said.

Council members stressed they don’t want meetings to become gripe sessions. Mr. McGoff suggested idea sessions have specific meeting agendas. He also hopes to involve nonprofit organizations to hear ideas from them.

Mr. Wechsler hopes idea sessions engage people who already are involved in various positive activities and events throughout the city.

Some ideas may simply require City Hall support or coordination, Mr. Evans said. Among the ideas he cited: a bicycle group meets downtown, takes a leisurely ride to a neighborhood and stops there to eat or patronize businesses; or a “food truck Tuesday,” when food trucks would set up in the same area and time on that day.

Mr. Gaughan suggested the city consider a program such as “Boston Shines,” in which that city facilitates volunteer opportunities in neighborhood service areas.

“Maybe the next big idea will be connecting the small ideas,” Mr. Evans said. “For better or worse, we’re off and running.”

Contact the writer:

[email protected], @jlockwoodTT on Twitter


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