Working out Problems in College Towns

Jun 14, 2011

Off-campus problems involving college students are well documented; rowdy parties, excessive noise and illegal parking. The head of an organization that works to improve relations between universities and their host communities contends their relationships are improving. Kim Griffo of the International Town and Gown Association says it’s in the interest of all parties to talk-out their differences.

“The neighborhood associations are quite savvy these days and have web sites and are very well organized so having everybody, all the stakeholders at the table to resolve the solutions is extremely important,” said Griffo.

The Town and Gown Association is sponsoring the 7th Annual University-City Relations conference next June at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

Griffo adds a down economy works to bring communities and their colleges together.

“We’re seeing more joint, shared services, just like at Clemson University. They shared their fire services with the city of Clemson there. You’ll see more collaborations on grant initiatives for roadwork, for sidewalks, that affect, you know campus safety and community safety, because if they can leverage both of their resources and both of their dollars, everybody wins.”

Mayor Jim Barnes characterizes the relationship between Richmond and the 17-thousand students at Eastern Kentucky University as excellent but not perfect.

“You can control the residential areas, the multi-familyareas, that’s a challenge everyday, but I wouldn’t trade it.  If you asked me would you rather have them or without them, like I‘d rather have it to double, I can control the other part,” said Barnes.

The conference on university-city relations is expected to attract participants from across the US and other countries.