GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- In the wake of a weekend killing in the Duval community, East Gainesville residents showed up in numbers for a town hall meeting focused on finding ways to create a better neighborhood.
Here's what types of suggestions were offered.
The nearly two-hour long meeting covered a variety of topics but the big ticket items which kept coming up, again and again, are the need for more professional buildings in the area to help train East Gainesville residents to do living wage jobs and provide opportunities like the rest of the city.
The meeting which was set up after two people were shot and one died less than two weeks ago in the neighborhood had a large turnout. Something everyone agreed needs to happen at all community meetings.
Andrew Miles was a representative for the Greater Duval Neighborhood Association who said, "we need more resident input and resident participation again being proactive to get that which we want and not that what large companies might want. While they're reaching their goals but the goals of the residents are not being met."
Sharon Hale-Ferguson, a resident of East Gainesville for more than 30 years added, "In order to create change in a neighborhood we as the community have to be a part of that change. We have to voice our opinions we have to let them know what we want in this community because we live here and until that happens, it's not going to happen and I'm here for that one reason only."
Participants asked for more lights in East Gainesville, something police and city officials say are already being put into place and more places for East Gainesville residents to receive job training.
Lifelong East Gainesville Resident Pamela Garcia said, "where is there a training center here in Northeast Gainesville? Lets put a training center where we can train our young men to be mechanics, train our young men to be welders, train our young men, give them some training and certifications. We need those type of buildings here, we need Starbucks here. What they have on the North side of town we need here."
Hale-Ferguson added, "I would like to see more building coming to East Gainesville and I mean positive building, not housing we have enough housing, not apartments. I would like to see some activity centers, something positive the kids can entertain themselves with."
Gainesville's police chief spoke about needing more community involvement by calling the police when a crime has happened, he also mentioned the need for more police officers to help work the streets. Currently, there are 24 open police officer jobs at GPD. City commissioner Gigi Simmons who originally agreed to give us a statement left without doing so.