public forum

The past, present and future of the city of Gainesville will be discussed tonight in order to define “who” the city is.

From 7 to 8 p.m. today, The Independent Florida Alligator will host a forum discussing these topics and more for its project “Who is Gainesville?” at the Center for Innovation & Economic Development: Imagination Room, 530 W. University Ave.

A panel discussion will be moderated by Paige Fry, the editor-in-chief of The Alligator.

Seven panelists will respond to Fry’s questions for an hour, with an audience Q&A session after.

The forum is part of The Alligator’s project that covers the past, present and future of Gainesville. This is a year-long project that started in September 2018 and was funded by $3,000 from the Poynter Media Institute, an organization that supports local and student journalism.

“This is our effort to create more of a conversation rather than just telling stories,” said Gillian Sweeney, The Alligator’s audience engagement team member.

Panelists, like Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones, were chosen based on their area of expertise relative to the greater Gainesville community, Sweeney said.

Levi Bradford, a 24-year-old first-year UF law student, plans to attend. He said the forum presents an opportunity for groups to discuss how they define Gainesville.

“There is so much more that goes on in town that needs to be looked at,” Bradford said. “Those ideas don’t come up in conversation unless someone has personally experienced them and has felt the division.”

Mikayla Carroll is a first-year journalism major from West Palm Beach, Florida. She first began at The Alligator in the Fall of 2018 as a copy editor and is now a university news staff writer.