DENHAM SPRINGS – The response to its first community meeting and how it can improve its second community meeting were the topics discussed by the Denham Springs Long Term Recovery Plan group at its recent meeting.

A total of 320 people signed in at the June 15 open house, and with many families coming in, more than 400 people offered their ideas at Denham Springs Junior High, said Beth Otto, community recovery specialist with FEMA.

“Some people hung out. They saw people they hadn’t seen in a long time. They socialized, which was great,” said Jeanette Clark, community recovery coordinator.

Clark said the FEMA team working with the group has totaled the responses from the dots put on topics at the six stations at the community meeting.

The word cloud, where visitors were asked to describe Denham Springs, is complete and available on the Facebook page “Denham Strong,” Clark said.

The FEMA team is now compiling the ideas from the sticky notes left by visitors, she said.

This information will be narrowed down for the second community meeting on July 13, when the focus will be on forming goals and identifying projects, Otto added.

That meeting will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Clark said, 

The volunteers working on the six subcommittees will need to be ready at 3 p.m., Clark said, adding she was surprised on how many people were there before the 4 p.m. start.

Word of mouth to neighbors by those who attended the first community meeting could bring more people on July 13, she said.

One suggestion made was having “greeters” welcome city residents as they arrive to explain the kind of input the group is seeking and offer to walk with groups of people if they wish.

Email, the Internet, Facebook, social media texts will all be used to promote the second community meeting, Clark said.

Assistant School Superintendent Steve Parrrill the Friday before and Wednesday before the July 13 meeting, the Livingston Parish School  District social media alert system can send out a reminder of the meeting.

The recovery group is still accepting people who want to help one of the six subcommittees, Clark said.

She can be reached at jclark@cityofdenhamsprings.com.

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Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at kevinf@livingstonparishnews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.

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