By Bruce Fraley, Mayor, City of Berea
From my perspective, the City of Berea and Berea College have an outstanding working relationship that continues to grow and improve. President Roelofs has been eager to reach out to our city’s elected officials and the community as a whole. Likewise, as Mayor, I am eager to do all that I can to see our relationship continue to grow.
There is a long history of strong “town and gown” relations; however, I will focus on a small sampling of recent initiatives that exemplify the strength of our relationship.
First, most of the city’s “shared use trails” are located along Berea College property. The college administration has been eager to cooperate with and to assist the city in the development of our trail system by allowing rights of way and easements needed to construct the trails. This cooperative relationship has helped create a network of safe routes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and those seeking recreational opportunities in our city. In fact, we are currently working together on a shared use trail along Brushy Fork Creek, from Scaffold Cane Road to Slate Lick Road. The new trail follows a segment of Boone Trace and opens a beautiful section of the Berea College Forest to citizens and visitors to our city. We are also in the design phase of shared use trails along Ellipse Street and Scaffold Cane Road.
A second example of town and gown cooperation is the excellent working relationship between Berea College Public Safety and the city police department. Former Police Chief David Gregory and Public Safety Director Lavoyed Hudgins met regularly to exchange information and needs of both the college and the city. This relationship will continue to grow with new the new Police Chief, Eric Scott. The welcome reception for Chief Scott, hosted in the Baird Lounge on campus, was well attended by the campus community and was greatly appreciated by the city. In fact, this long standing, strong relationship created an opportunity for the City Police Department to work with Dr. Kennaria Brown, who has provided multiple sessions of diversity training for the department over the past several years.
Finally, there is truth in the old adage that “sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference.” During my first year as Mayor, we extended an invitation to President Roelofs to deliver a presentation on happenings at the college at a City Council Meeting. The information President Roelofs provided was well received by the Council as well as members of the general public. In fact, President Roelofs provided the Council with updates on three occasions last year, and we look forward to having him on the agenda regularly in 2020 and beyond. Likewise, President Roelofs invited me to make a presentation to faculty members at the beginning of my term, has invited me and other city leaders to convocations, the annual Christmas concert, and commencement exercises. This is important because the more often we are with each other in person, the stronger our friendships and relationships become.
I sincerely look forward to seeing our friendships, relationships, and joint initiatives continue to grow and flourish as we move Berea forward together.