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Last week, two community events were held with the purpose of gathering input from area residents.

We were very pleased to see the result – nearly 100 people took time out of their day to attend the events. And yes, that is a very small fraction of the more than 18,000 who live within city limits of El Dorado, but take it from us – we’ve seen a lot of meetings where cities seek input from their residents. Usually, if you’re lucky, you get 10, maybe even 20 people who will come and share their ideas or at the very least, sit quietly in the room and listen to others.

At the public hearing for park improvements, roughly 40 people attended, many of them ready with suggestions for how to improve our city parks and make them a more inclusive place for all residents.

And at the exact same time, nearly 50 residents attended a town hall meeting in Ward 1. The meeting, the first of a series of town halls with one being held in each ward, was the brainchild of Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer, who intended the events to be an opportunity for residents to learn more about municipal procedures.

While last week’s town hall seemed to focus more on the planned location for a medical marijuana dispensary, which may not have been Smith-Creer’s intent, it accomplished a much more important goal – it brought area residents together with their elected officials for an opportunity to share their opinions and have a dialogue about what we want our city to be and where we want to go from here.

There will be plenty of other opportunities to make your voice heard on city issues as more town halls are scheduled across the city. But if an event like that doesn’t work for your schedule, don’t forget that there are many other ways to be involved. Attend a City Council meeting. Call or email your council member or mayor. Volunteer for a board or commission.

A city is always changing. But it’s up to us how it changes and whether those changes make it better or worse.

Our View reflects the opinion of the El Dorado News-Times Editorial Board.

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