Maryville is creating new ways for its citizens to be knowledgeable regarding municipal issues and projects.
Maryville 101 is a new method of communicating different aspects of local government and city decisions. The plan is for selected city board members to write articles about issues and projects impacting the city’s residents and share them via local print media and online social media.
As of now, there are multiple projects beginning to take form throughout the city including wayfinding signage, the downtown mural, South Main renovation designs and more.
The city is looking to use Maryville 101 as a way to keep its citizens informed and up-to-date on all aspects of projects and ordinances such as the decision-making process and how city services are funded.
City department heads are working together to come up with topics of interest and identify city staff members who are willing to write about them.
City Manager Greg McDanel says the push for this platform comes with the numerous improvements the town is making.
“The better informed our citizens are, the more likely they will be engaged in their local government processes and hopefully the better they will understand why particular decisions are made,” McDanel said.
Maryville is in the process of improving local tourism and beautification aspects. The city has assigned committees to specific assignments within those.
The tourism committee is working on projects like wayfinding signage and building an overall marketing strategy for the city.
Tourism Committee President Josh McKim said it is important for a town’s residents to be informed.
“There are nine total people on this board with more than five local organizations represented,” McKim said. “We have one opening right now too, and that’s important for people to know about.”
McKim added that those in the committee have other jobs, and are foremost citizens with a vested interest.
“The tourism committee is made up of a bunch of people who have day jobs,” McKim said. “Tourism is not our primary job, but as we attended conferences and meetings with each other, we knew this would impact our citizens.”
Maryville 101 would release articles about various issues including but not limited to committee decisions, upcoming ballot initiatives, funding, local project details and city council meeting results.
A recent educational lecture was held on campus over the city’s proposed use tax that was initially voted down.
McDanel said ballot initiatives like it would likely be written about and dispersed through Maryville 101.
“Any information we can provide citizens to further engage them in the local decision-making process we see as a positive,” McDanel said. “Civic engagement is difficult and putting out the correct information in a proactive manner, especially in today’s social media driven environment, will help us reach citizens more effectively.”
An introductory article was released the week of March 11. A council member will release the second involving information on the legislative body and it’s decision-making process Thursday.