Stop for coffee and a chat with village officials
(Published November 9, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Once a month, the Village Superintendent and South Charleston Police Chief—and often one of the Village Commissioners—invite the public to chat with them informally at one of the town’s stores. They call it Coffee & Conversation, and the idea is to provide a relaxed atmosphere in which everyone can feel comfortable sharing concerns, ideas or praise about village government business.
The hour-long monthly meetings began over a year ago as an alternative for residents who are unable or unwilling to attend formal village commission meetings but wish to share their thoughts with town.
“Being recorded (at an official meeting) is intimidating for some people. At Coffee & Conversation, there is no registration. People can speak their minds and don’t need everyone in town to be able to see it,” village manager Trecia Waring said.
Coffee & Conversation takes place at 8 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month and rotates between Village Cup, 17 S. Chillicothe St., and All In Flavor, 9 S. Chillicothe St. The next session will be December 7 at the Village Cup.
So far, the feedback has been positive. Customers visiting stores for coffee stopped and thanked Waring or Police Chief Brian Redish for everything from quickly picking up brushes to police going beyond a call.
“We haven’t really received a lot of complaints. Nothing really negative at all. The feedback has been positive,” Waring said.
That’s not to say they’re not open to complaints, constructive criticism, or just ideas of what residents would like to see more or less of.
“We would like more people to come and sit with us. If anyone has any issues or ideas they don’t want to bring to the meetings, we’d love to hear from them. That’s why we do Coffee & Conversation,” Waring said.
It also turned out to be a chance to learn about activities, events and services offered by different groups and entities in the city. At the last Coffee & Conversation, one of the local pastors sat down with village leaders to tell them about his church’s volunteer work, children’s activities and a harvest festival open to the public. Village officials shared details of the event on the village’s Facebook page.
To learn more about Coffee & Conversation, call South Charleston City Hall at (937) 462-8888.