Citizens discuss crime, new railway during final ‘Let’s talk with the Mayor’ series

(WTVM) - As Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson completes her final year in office, the final "Let's Talk with the Mayor" discussion also came to a close Thursday night.

During the penultimate "Lets Talk with the Mayor" open citizens forum, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says she feels the nearly 30 discussions taken place over her nearly eight years in office, have been effective at hearing the citizens concerns.

Citizens at the event voiced their concerns about how the city of Columbus is handling the national opioid crisis and discussed how it connects with local crime.

"We've struggled as a city and certainly other cities have struggled with it. A lot of people say, 'we've had more murders,' and that is true," says Tomlinson.

However, Tomlinson cities that crime in the city is down overall by 39 percent.

Susan, a Columbus citizen challenging Tomlinson,  asked what programs the city has to ensure people are exposed to options to keep them out of crime opportunities.

"Any city that allows a blighted area to fester is also in trouble," one citizen explained publicly to Tomlinson.

During the discussion, Tomlinson also spoke to citizens concerned with plans to bring a high-speed passenger rail train to the area. Tomlinson says the railway would serve as another facet to direct people from Atlanta to Columbus. In return, it would boost jobs and the Columbus economy.

"[It would have] speeds up to 200 miles per hour. It would take 60 minutes to get from Columbus to Atlanta because there would be one stop in Newnan," says Tomlinson.

Those plans are still in the works according to Tomlinson but overall, the mayor says forums just like tonight have an impact on the city moving forward.

"I think it has raised the credibility of the city, for the citizens who come and partake in this," says Tomlinson.

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