EARLY —The City of Early put on an educational tour de force for three hours Thursday afternoon at the city’s first Smart City Expo, where equipment, tools and technology of various departments were on display and city employees were on hand to explain to citizens how their departments work.
The event was held at the Early Visitors and Event Center. Outside, large, modern trucks used by utility crews were parked with employees available to answer questions. Inside, booths with stylish displays, graphics and information were set up to go along with the tools and equipment that were spread out before visitors.
Displays included tools used by the Early police and fire departments.
“It’s a really good event they’re putting on by city staff, to be ale to educate the public about what’s going on in the city of Early,” City Council member Leland Acker said. “Even as a councilman, I know a lot of what goes on because of what we do in our city council meetings and how we budget everything. But actually getting out here and seeing the actual tools that we’ve provided through the council and through funding, and actually seeing are doing with the resources that they have, is simply amazing.
“One of the things I find really fascinating about this is the way the departments are utilizing technology to get the job done. If you go over to public works, you’ll see the sewer camera that they have. They’re able to actually see what’s going on in our city sewer systems and where the problems are. That camera not only shows you the images of what’s happening but gives you the coordinates so you know exactly where that problem area is, and the crew is able to go directly ito that point. It saves times. It saves money. It keeps the dirt work from being too expensive.”
City Secretary Brenda Kilgo agreed, saying it’s important “just to be able to show our citizens how the city works, that those resources are and where they come from, how the money comes into the city and what we can do with it.”
City Administrator Tony Aaron said earlier city officials had been “This year looking for creative ways to engage citizens and educate them about what’s going on in their community. “We came up with an idea to host what we’re titling the City of Early Smart City Expo,” Aaron said.
He said the idea came out a community planning session held last year.
“In that planning session we discussed a lot of different things about the city and what could be done better,” Aaron said. “It was brought to our attention that we should do more to engage the public and give them ways to learn more about what we do.
"A lot of people who attended that event thought that event was really good and wanted to see something like that more often.”