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Ferguson Township Offers Residents Chance to Voice Concerns Over Free Coffee

by on July 18, 2014 1:00 PM

Ferguson Township Manager Mark Kunkle knows that coming to a public meeting, standing at a podium and appearing on C-Net can be intimidating for some residents.

For township residents who want to make their voices heard without the formalities of a public meeting, tomorrow morning’s “Coffee and Conversation” event offers the chance to meet with Ferguson Township officials to voice complaints, compliments and everything in between.

From 8:00 to 9:30 a.m., Kunkle and township assistant manager Dave Pribulka will answer questions and facilitate discussion at the Waffle Shop West at 1610 W. College Ave over complimentary coffee.

“Many times, the dialogue in communities moves in one direction,” Kunkle says. “It’s feeding regulations and events to residents, without a lot of opportunity for feedback from in the community”.”

Ferguson Township, in an effort to avoid this kind of one-way conversation, has been holding these “Coffee and Conversation” discussions every three months since October of last year, Kunkle says. With an average turnout ranging from 12 to 20 people, he says that these talks “have been very helpful in creating a personal connection” with township residents.

Kunkle expects the topic of home rentals during Penn State football weekends and other special events to be come up in conversation tomorrow. He says past conversations have included everything from the State College Area High School referendum to issues of overgrown vegetation impairing sight distance at intersections around the township.

Criticism, compliments and suggestions are welcome. Kunkle says that the township is currently looking into electronic bill payments after suggestions from the public at a previous “Coffee and Conversation” meeting. 

“I think residents that have attended these feel more at ease and are more willing to call the township or ask questions in the future,” Kunkle says. “It helps our residents put a face with our names, and I think that’s been helpful.”


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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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