Shortly after the midterm elections, several dozen people who live, work and play in Gulfport will sit down at tables in the Casino to share what they love and are concerned about this quirky beach town. Finding Common Ground, is the first in a series of three town halls called Gulfport on the Edge. Each of the three events, scheduled for November 14, January 30, and April 10, will have different formats, focus, and “altitudes” which will prompt participants’ creativity and allow everyone to contribute ideas. Unlike traditional town halls, these events will use inquiry and focused conversations to encourage people to see the bigger picture of the changing social, economic and political landscape. http://gulfport_on_the_edge.eventbrite.com/
“In these dynamically changing times, sometimes it’s hard to have respectful, productive conversations. My intent is to provide opportunities for people to bring their ideas together in constructive and creative ways,” say April Thanos, City Councilor and sponsor of the town halls.
An ad hoc group of 30 volunteers is producing these events, sharing a desire to bring residents, workers and community leaders together, contributing their knowledge and visions for making Gulfport a vibrant and resilient place for current and future residents and visitors. Information exchanged during the events connect people with other individuals and organizations that share their interests. The data documenting the conversations will be compiled and made available to the civic, business, and community groups as resources to help navigate the new realities.
“Forward-thinking leaders of organizations use this kind of information to help them better understand their constituencies and crowdsource innovative ideas to build better futures,” says Ingrid Bredenberg, facilitator and member of the production team. “Gulfport is in a unique position to leverage its many strengths by bringing people together.”