Athens Officials Update Public At Town Hall Meeting

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Tuesday night’s town hall meeting was a chance for Athens community members to speak out concerning local issues.

Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl and city officials presented updates on concrete concerns including homelessness, fracking and funding problems for city schools. However, some community members such as Loraine McCosker say there are still questions that remain unanswered.

“I think it’s really great that the town hall meeting happened and people had the opportunity to speak," McCosker said, "but I felt like the city administration did not answer very critical questions.”

McCosker’s concerns include the issue of homelessness and fracking.

Wiehl briefly touched on the city’s progress from its meeting last April regarding homelessness but said it’s a slow process.

“I know there are limited resources out there, there are limited spaces, but I wish I had better answers than that,” Wiehl said.

Plans include working with Good Works on a Habitat for Humanity house and making the area more handicap accessible.

Wiehl saysthe city is starting phase two of production of its energy efficiency program. This program allows for energy improvements for various buildings in the city. In addition, energy and vehicle needs are still being reviewed as well as preserving budget savings. While local changes were the focus, regional issues still remain the big concern.

“There are many needs for our town," McCosker said. "I think we just need some really strategic planning for the fracking issue and the homelessness issue as well as our solid waste issues. We have a fabulous community that we’re not really utilizing to its full capacity, and we need to protect it."