How to be heard

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By Sophie Pappas

Last month at the Zionsville Town Council’s agenda setting meeting, residents of the Village Homeowners Association stood before the council members (at 7:30 a.m., no less) and asked to have a “formal voice” in the planning for the future of our downtown. One member pulled me aside and said, “You’ve got to help us have a voice.”

While their initiative is bold, and to be respected, what was lost on them is that there are already several methods for Zionsville residents to have a voice. Yes, a formal, recorded, goes-down-in-history voice. One small case in point is the survey that was conducted last year. The town paid more than $70,000 to collect thoughts from Zionsville residents and this week we here at Current published many of those responses. That is a voice!

In addition, throughout the planning process (aka- for ANYTHING to get done in town) each petition that goes before the Town Council and the Planning Commission has at least seven opportunities for people to speak out in public hearings and elsewhere. These meetings are always recorded, and are heard in person by the officials we, the people of Zionsville, have elected to be our voice.

Councilman Steve Mundy put it quite well when he said that the Council hears every person who stands at the podium during a public hearing on any issue.

“When there is a line of 40 people waiting to talk to us, that’s not lost. We listen to everything you say,” he said.

A group of four 8th grade Zionsville West Middle School girls certainly used their voice (although sometimes quivering) when they spoke at last week’s Council meeting and asked for a crosswalk to be built from the Royal Run subdivision to their school. This was a noble feat, and again, something that was sincerely applauded and appreciated by the councilmembers.

The next time someone comes up to this humble reporter and her notebook to complain that they aren’t being heard, I think I’ll remind them that they probably haven’t even tried because the people who I see speak, always have a chance to be heard.

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