Community Chat encourages college, village discussion

Geneseo’s second Community Chat took place on Thursday Dec. 1 at the Wadsworth Homestead. Community Chats allow individuals to express their opinions, to acquire information about Geneseo and to converse with a variety of members from the community. President Denise Battles and Village Mayor Richard Hatheway led the Community Chat, which occurred approximately six months after the first event.

Hatheway opened the Chat by explaining the village and the college’s goals of holding another Community Chat.

“We started with one of these last June and we had a nice community-college chat,” Hatheway said. “We were thinking there were some issues that would be of interest in the community and in the college, so we decided to sit down and get the people together again.”

Some issues that were reviewed during the Community Chat were communication between the village and the college, how to foster a more widespread feeling of safety throughout the village and how to create safer conditions for pedestrians.

The majority of the meeting’s attendees were made up of either college or village professionals, prompting Anita White—a resident of Center Street—to ask, “So at the previous Community Chat, we talked about communication, or lack of communication. Have you launched any new ways to communicate with us? How did people find out about this meeting?”

The Community Chat was advertised using various forms of media, such as the Livingston County News, the local Pennysaver, Facebook and flyers, according to Battles.

“I guess the village will have to get with the modern world here and join Facebook,” Hatheway said.

It was agreed during the discussion that while community members can receive news from the campus and vice versa, the issue of sustaining effective communication between the campus and the village may lie in finding a happy medium between having too much information and not enough information.

The village could also help to promote safety by showing solidarity with students who have felt unsafe on campus and in the community by hosting an event during the week of Martin Luther King Day or around the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, according to Hatheway.

“We’ve been doing what we can during these very challenging times on campus to signal that we are committed to a safe, respectful college community, but if there’s an opportunity to partner with the village that would make it all the more powerful,” Battles said.

The Community Chat also covered how conditions can be improved for drivers and pedestrians. The potential safety precautions discussed included adding lighting around Main Street’s fountain to improve visibility.

“We’ve had more people getting hit and accidents at the fountain than we have had at the North and Main Street intersection,” Village of Geneseo Chief of Police Eric Osganian said.

In order to remedy this, a spotlight was placed above Nothnagle Realtors on Main Street on Nov. 30. If this precaution improves the lighting of the fountain, then more spotlights will be installed, according to Hatheway.

In order to further improve safety conditions, a study is also being conducted in regard to the intersection of North, Court and Main Street in response to the petition concerning changing the stoplight to a full traffic light, Hatheway said.

Community member Lynette Maxim said that she believes the Community Chat was productive and that she hopes there will be future discussions to come.

“I’m happy for this privilege to be here among people who know a lot more than I do,” Maxim said. “I hope that we can do it often and be together as a community and students.”