Commission Night Out meetings to return


City commission meetings will take to Grand Rapids neighborhoods once again.

The city is set to relaunch its Commission Night Out (CNO) meetings with neighborhood engagement sessions after a two-year hiatus.

The first CNO event will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Sibley Elementary School, 943 Sibley St. NW in Grand Rapids.

Each meeting will feature traditional city commission business after an interactive public comment session allowing residents to share their thoughts on the livability factors outlined in the recent National Community Survey.

Doors for this week’s meeting will open at 5 p.m., with food and beverages available. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the interactive session and transition to city commission business at 7 p.m.

Free child care for children ages 0-12 will be provided during the interactive session, though space is limited, and registration is required.

The other two ward-based CNO meetings are tentatively slated for October and November. Dates, times and locations of each of the remaining meetings are still being finalized.

City Manager Mark Washington said he looks forward to resuming the CNO meetings after the hiatus.

“We’ve often heard that community members are interested in greater interaction than the traditional three-minute citizen comment provides at commission meetings,” Washington said. “This gives us that opportunity to engage in specific and meaningful discussion about key aspects of what makes Grand Rapids a livable community and learn what that means for our wards and our neighborhoods. The survey gives us a good starting point, but this provides us with the detail we can incorporate into our future strategies and budgeting.”

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss also said she is eager to take the city commission meetings into neighborhoods again.

“I’m excited to relaunch Commission Nights Out and give folks who can’t always travel down to city hall a chance to participate in a government meeting,” she said. “This blended event also will help us engage with residents in a meaningful way. The data tells us one thing, but it is always helpful to put some life behind that by talking to people about their experiences.”

The Aug. 23 meeting will air at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 26 and be livestreamed on the city of Grand Rapids Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Information on the upcoming CNO meetings can be found on Facebook or the city’s website.

Free child care for children ages 0-12 will be provided during the interactive session, though space is limited, and registration is required.

Registration for children ages 0-3 is here. Registration for children ages 4-12 is here.

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