Want to give your opinion to Ann Arbor officials? Skip meeting and try new virtual town hall forum
Ann Arbor residents can now comment on specific issues online rather than coming to city council or community input meetings.
The Ann Arbor Open City Hall is an online forum that allows people to post suggestions for city projects and to “support” each others statements with the click of a button.
The first topic brought forward for virtual public comment is the South State Street corridor.
Commenters are encouraged to make statements detailing what they would like to see happen as the city develops the area.
Participants are encouraged to use their real names and addresses in the forum. Names can be withheld from comments, but addresses are used to identify individuals by ward and distance from the project being addressed.
The forum opened on Monday, and as of Tuesday morning 48 people had viewed the town hall, leaving four statements and three “supports.” The forum allows comments to be sorted by how recently they were made or by the amount of supporting clicks they have garnered. A word cloud can also be used to identify trends in the statements.
Screenshot from A2gov.org
Peak Democracy, a company that currently operates 745 forums in communities across the country from Decatur, Ga. to Washoe County, Nev., runs the forum. According to the company’s website, the open town halls “have the order and decorum of government meetings - making them civil and legal, as well as insightful.”