• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

‘On the table’ to the streets

SHARON HARDIN, left, executive director of the Food Pantry for Woodford County, discussed a grant proposal with Food Pantry board member Debbie Schumacher at a Thursday, Oct. 16, meeting at Midway University. Behind them are the names of people expressing interest in one of seven topics. Grant proposals designed to make Woodford County a better place can be submitted to the Woodford Community Fund’s website by Oct. 1 and will be voted on at a public meeting Nov. 14. Winning grants will receive $2,500 to $10,000. (Photo by John McGary)

In a classroom in Midway University’s Anne Hart Raymond Center, about two dozen people gathered last Thursday, Aug. 16, to discuss the future of Woodford County.

The meeting was the fifth of the “On The Table” series organized by the Woodford Community Fund, the largest of which was a March event that brought 281 people to the Life Adventure Center. There, Woodford County residents shared breakfast, lunch or dinner – and conversations about what sort of future they hoped to shape in Woodford County.

“There were people at tables that have sued each other in the past and they sat at that table and they talked about what was an important issue in Woodford County, and there was no bloodshed,” said Joe Graviss, a Woodford Community Fund board member.

The meetings were part of a series across Central Kentucky funded by the Knight Foundation.

Thursday, there were posters with labels describing seven areas of interest: land use and development, civic engagement and governmental process, economic development process and approach, social issues, youth and education issues, infrastructure, and community identification and sense of community. Beneath the headers were names of people who’d signed up to show interest in those issues along with contact information.

“So that’s why we’re here today – is to try to take these ideas, these conversations, these visions, and bring them to reality,” said moderator and board member Liz Roach.

Another board member, Lori Garkovich, referred to Thursday’s meeting as the last in a series of “reveals” in which the results of the March meeting, which generated 31 pages of notes, will be shared.

“We’re calling this ‘From the Table to the Streets’ because we don’t want this to be a report that just kind of sits around like too many do,” Garkovich said.

At the final public meeting Nov. 14, people and groups who’ve submitted grant proposals on the group’s website (bgcf.org/woodfordcounty) by Oct. 1 will have a chance to pitch their ideas.

“Everybody who’s got a posted proposal is going to be able to do a presentation on what they want to do with their money and the outcomes they want. And then we’re going to allow people to… vote on those topics… they think should receive attention,” Garkovich said.

The winning ideas will be based on the concepts and themes discussed at previous meetings and receive funds from $2,500 to $10,000.

They must be projects that can be carried out within 18 to 24 months.

“We want people to work together who’ve never worked together before (and get) some community organizations to work together,” Garkovich said.

One proposal already submitted involves battling hunger; another involves providing assistance to low-income families through purchasing cards, Garkovich said.

Another in the works will feature input from the executive director of the Food Pantry for Woodford County, Sharon Hardin, and Food Pantry board member Debbie Schumacher. Hardin said they’re looking for ways to help people without transportation get to the Food Pantry, medical appointments and other necessary destinations.

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