Over the past month I’ve had the opportunity to attend several Sylva town board meetings. At each meeting there have been individuals in attendance that have spoken during the public comments section of the meeting. This time allows the board to hear from community members. These individuals typically make statements and/or ask questions about the N.C. Department of Transportation 107 project, present issues surrounding ordinance violations in their respective neighborhoods, and so on.

However, there is typically a mass exodus from the room of those individuals who presented during public comment. Why is this? I would like to ask those who attend town board meetings to stay for the duration of the meeting. Stay to hear the reports from commissioners. Stay to hear the reports from the Public Works Department. Stay to hear the reports from the town manager. Stay to hear the reports from the police department. Stay to hear the reports from the Main Street Sylva Association. These reports provide vital and factual information to what is happening in our town and community.

While we all believe our cause is the most important cause, it is vital that we, as citizens, hear about all of the good work that is happening in our town and that we are engaged in our community on a deeper level than just showing up for the public comments section of meetings. This requires us to stay for the entire meeting, get to know our town employees, spend time downtown at festivals and community events, join committees, volunteer for events, consider the Sylva Police Academy, learn about the Main Street Sylva Association, ask questions and be involved.

I hope to see community members at the next Sylva Town Board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Sylva Town Hall.

Together we can build a stronger Sylva, if we are engaged in working together.

Kelly Brown,