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Meeting lets Waco, BU talk about community relations

Feb. 28, 2001

Top concerns are student lifestyles



A group made up of policemen, professors, politicians, retirees and students gathered at Edgefield Baptist Church Tuesday evening to eat and discuss issues concerning both Baylor and the south Waco community.

An hour and a half and 12 boxes of pizza later, the small group of 30 succeeded in taking a few steps closer to improving unity in the Waco area.

'I think this [community meeting] is a good step in the right direction to open the communications between the students and our churches and our residents,' said Alice Flores, city councilwoman for Baylor's district.

The meeting was an open forum for anyone in the local community to come and voice an opinion.

The main problem discussed was brought up by the permanent Waco residents. The residents said they were upset by the noise brought to the neighborhood by their student neighbors. They also said many students hurt the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhoods by not maintaining their lawns and by putting furniture in their yards.

Some residents expressed their concern over the lack of parking spaces at their homes and churches because they are all taken up by student cars.

'[Baylor students] have games over here in the summertime ... and they double park up and down [River Street],' said Edgefield church member Mary Waller. 'When we get down here, there is no place to park.'

The students who were in attendance said the problems between the residents and Baylor could be resolved if there were better communication between the two parties.

'I think this was a good first step in the communication that needs to happen between the city and the university and the students,' said student body President Jon Rolph, who attended the meeting. 'I look forward to seeing how it progresses in the next two weeks.

Rolph said 'there is definitely legitimate issues that both the city has with the university and that the student residents can have with the long-term residents. It is a dialogue, not a monologue, and I think that's the key.'

Flores, who helped plan the meeting, said she was pleased with the way it turned out.

'I'm comfortable and happy about the way things have gone because there were some perspectives [in the meeting] from the student's side that we hadn't known about,' Flores said.

The remaining two community meetings will take place at 6:00 p.m. on March 1 at Seventh and James Baptist Church and on March 15 at Face to Face Ministries.

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