Town hall addresses concerns in Cairo - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Town hall addresses concerns in Cairo

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CAIRO -- Illinois State Rep. Natalie Phelps-Finnie of Elizabethtown held her first town hall meeting with citizens of Cairo Wednesday night, to discuss issues in the community.

Over a dozen concerned Cairo citizens, like Steven Tarber, attended the meeting looking for solutions.

"We need more than just visits," Tarber said. "We need someone to come with some concrete evidence that there's going to be some change from the legislation from above."

Tarber, along with his brother Shawn and Marcie Ursery, took matters into their own hands. They formed the group, Men of Power-Women of Strength, to get Cairo back on track, and as they put it, "up-to date."

"We have the mission and the plan, we need the community," Ursery said. "And bringing the action that was spoken about, not just the words a lot of politicians come in and bring."

Phelps-Finnie promised the group, along with everyone else in attendance, she'd make progress and find answers.

"A lot of people look at Cairo and say what it once was, and that's true but I look at what it can be and that's what I hope to bring," Phelps-Finnie said.

That includes helping find a solution for the housing problems.

"I'm hoping we can get some kind of housing in here for those who want to stay," Phelps-Finnie said. 

Since being told about the demolition plans this past spring, about 70 families relocated. About 115 families are still living at the Elmwood Complex and at the McBride housing unit.

"I would say about 25-30 in each place, they're determined to stay," Tarber said. "We know that this is home for many and they're just waiting to return."

Community leaders remain optimistic about their city, and plan to hold leaders, like newly-appointed Phelps-Finnie, accountable for actions like connecting them with grant writers and access to other resources.

"We have to see the hope," Ursery said. "We have to see the action and the hope of the action she hopes to bring, that she looks to bring."

If you are interested in getting involved with Women of Power - Men of Strength, visit their Facebook page here

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