In case no one has noticed, there was no public forum in 2012 to discuss some of the problems confronting Winchester and Clark County.
Perhaps it was preordained that these forums would eventually cease considering that the attendance at them over the three or four years during which they were held continued to drop each year.
Another extenuating circumstance that may have led to their demise could have been the repeated number of issues which seemed to come up every year, indicating that they had not been resolved in the previous year. Parking in downtown Winchester was one of the continuing issues which springs to mind, although some progress was made, primarily by the creation of the new parking lot off Broadway and the installation of some additional diagonal spaces on Broadway near Highland Street.
Another contributing factor in the cessation of the forums could possibly be that, after the first two years, the dates on which they occurred changed. The first date change was the result of trying to assure that the forum took place at a time during the year when bad weather would be less likely to interfere.
Still, the declining attendance and participation must have weighed heavily in any decision to not conduct the forum in 2012.
Regardless of all this, the mayor, judge-executive, city commission, county commission and school board are to be lauded for their efforts in conducting the forums which did take place and those that were held elucidated a number of problems here which have been addressed, at least to some extent.
Some problems still persist and additional ones could probably have been identified had the forums continued.
The amount of talent and intelligence in this community that was exhibited at past forums was truly inspiring as average citizens stepped up and offered solutions or raised pertinent questions about the myriad issues confronting residents and government here.
As to the declining participation, it bears noting that the number of people who actually took part was never extremely high. The greatest number of people undoubtedly were part of the very first forum. From that point on, participation dropped off, and others will have to offer suggestions as to why this was the case.
But even with the initial number of participants, it could never be said that the city and county were well represented and this is sad because the number of people who typically attend a local football or basketball game would dwarf the number of people who attended the forums. It thus becomes hard to not suggest that local citizens are more interested in high school sports than in how their community develops and how problems get resolved.
Maybe the forums will continue sometime in the future. Even if they don’t, it is probably safe to say that local officials would welcome written, e-mailed or personal suggestions about local problems, especially if the enumeration of those problems also provided some possible solutions.