Conversing around the table

Community members start talks on how to improve East Ala./Columbus area
Nov. 9, 2017

By Denise DuBois 

On Tuesday, hosts gathered together a group of people to talk about the community - its good qualities and the things it can improve upon - and the direction members would like to see the community go.  In Phenix City, Vice Chancellor of Phenix City’s Troy University Dr. David White hosted a breakfast table where 13 people opened up.

“The idea is that food brings people together to talk,” White said. “People feel more comfortable around a meal.”

The idea is from the On the Table initiative that was first introduced in Chicago in 2014. The Phenix City and Columbus area was one of 10 areas across the country selected to replicate On the Table this year with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley led the effort in the Columbus and Phenix City area. 

After discussions, those who attended will fill out a survey to share the thoughts, actions and ideas that came from the conversation on Tuesday. The responses will be compiled by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement and will be accessible to the public. 

At the Troy University breakfast, themes that emerged from the group included: Phenix City, Russell County and Smiths Station working together and compromising to complete a major project; keeping young people in the area and helping them get involved; how to develop the riverfront; finding an identity for the community; having an entrepreneurial spirit; and what it’s going to take to get the East Alabama community where the people want it to be. 

With conversations going on all over the area Tuesday, the goal is to move forward knowing you have a voice that matters. What thoughts about East Alabama would you bring to the table? email