PARKERSBURG - An annual series of town hall meetings usually held in the spring will instead begin this fall.
Mayor Bob Newell said three town hall meetings will be held in September, and dates, times and locations will be announced after the new school year begins this fall.
The town hall meetings give area residents a chance to speak to Newell and other officials about concerns and to receive updates on projects and changes throughout the city.
"I usually talk about ongoing projects and how they are funded," Newell said. "It's an opportunity for people to come and ask any questions they want to have answered."
The meetings were not held last year because it was an election year.
"I didn't want it to be seen as campaigning, so we didn't hold them," Newell said.
The meetings had been held for at least three years prior, and Newell said the information often is invaluable.
"They are as useful to me as they are to the people who come," he said. "It's always been a very positive experience."
Newell said he intended to restart the meetings earlier this year, but missed the opportunity to hold them in the spring.
"Normally they would have been held in May," he said. "I just waited too long."
The meetings typically were held at area schools, but Wood County Schools' custodial staffs work reduced hours during the summer months, meaning the buildings would not be available for evening use.
Newell said his hope is to hold one meeting at a school in north Parkersburg, one at McKinley Elementary School, which is near the middle of the city, and another at a school in south Parkersburg.
Newell said the town hall meetings may also be used as a starting point for meetings for two commissions which are being restarted this year: The Advisory Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Advisory Commission on City Parks.