SAN ANGELO, Texas — As the official visual arts capital of Texas, the city of San Angelo is known for its colorful alleyways and historic buildings.
From the North Concho River to Old Fort Concho, the city offers a wide variety of activities and opportunities.
On March 25, San Angelo community members gathered together at First Presbyterian Church for "Concho Valley Bridge Builders."
As hosted by the Concho Valley Community Action Agency, attendees discussed their likes and concerns regarding the city from parks to politics.
"I go around and I talk to politicians and quite often, I feel like I talk to politicians and they don't always listen or hear what I'm saying," Frontera Strategy founder and political strategist Jason Sabo said.
Sabo travels across Texas to aid in community conversations like the one in San Angelo, and he was the main presenter during the event.
"So what we're gonna do today is really sit down and have conversations...about what do you want San Angelo to look like? The things we like about San Angelo and the things we don't like about San Angelo," he said.
The informal meeting provided citizens the chance to express their opinions in a relaxed setting.
Community members were encouraged to sit with one another to discuss three main pillars: likes, improvements and dislikes.
"The whole point about the exercises, about today, about engaging with these politicians is nothing about us, without us," Sabo said to the crowd.
Citizens were excited about the rebuilding of downtown, the farmers and artisanal markets, road improvements, tourism, etc.
They advocated for changes in areas like affordable housing, more bus routes and homeless resources, while other serious concerns included tax dollar distribution, gun violence, animal control and police accountability.
"What we're gonna do today is have a conversation about the things that we want and need for those elected officials to know," Sabo said.
Following the meeting, the group planned to organize at CVCAA and eventually speak with local legislatures directly to discuss changes in the community.
"A lot of what our elected officials do at the city level or state level or federal level is make laws that determine, I don't know, every facet of our lives, every facet of our kid's lives, their education....," Sabo said.
"And quite often, decisions are being made without us," he added.
From issues big and small, the meeting fostered open dialogue and the group plans to reunite with city council members in a similar fashion a year from now.