Mayoral memories

First Posted: 11/15/2009

As I approach the end of my term serving as Mayor for the City of Mount Airy, I believe its only natural to think back on some of the events that took place during my term in office. The difficult times we had to face due to the immediate loss of jobs occasioned by the closing of some of our key manufacturing operations certainly stand out as a disappointment and some sad times for all of our citizens. The list of companies that either closed or reduced the local work force included major operations like Cross Creek, Kentucky Derby, Renfro, Perry Mfg. Co., Spencers; and the list goes on to include many other lost jobs that had an adverse impact on our local economy.
We were and are blessed with citizens that remained positive during the difficult times, and we were able to concentrate on the positive events taking place during these periods. New companies like the additions in our industrial park that include Harvest Time Bakery, CK Technologies, Rock Solid Dimensional Stone, Mayberry Learning Center, and another one or two companies in negotiation at this time. Many local companies have continued to be successful and grow with the addition of many new jobs. Examples are companies like South Data, Advanced Electronics, health care and medical facilities, a great hospital addition, and we continue to see growth and expansion in all directions. We have experienced growth in our banks and financial institutions, in restaurants, gift shops, and multiple retail operations.
Our growth and improvements in Parks and Recreation facilities has been a great asset along with the Tourism Development Authority to provide opportunities for our residents and visitors to help keep our economy active and alive. One major addition I hear about coming from far and wide is the addition of our public restrooms downtown and our dedication to keep them clean and open for all in need of these facilities. Other significant improvements that all have contributed to our keeping Mount Airy alive and well would include:
The Blackmon Amphitheatre
The improved and expanded Mount Airy Museum of History
The Andy Griffith Museum
The Emily Taylor Walking Trail
The Ararat River Rehab and Walking Trail (almost complete)
The Westwood Park Improvements including Lake and Fishing Pier
All beautification efforts both public and private
Economic development efforts that have included some utilization of our existing buildings
Our many active civic clubs and churches to aid those in need
The expansion of our Water and Sewer Services to several areas outside our city limits
And certainly the annexation of some areas which we needed in the city limits and most of those residents needed and have welcomed our city services
I have been blessed to be able to work with a great elected board of commissioners where the majority was able to put personal feelings aside and consider objectively what they truly believed was in the best interest of all of our citizens. Also blessed to have a city manager, assistant city manager, and department heads that functioned as a team and were experienced, educated, and working for the citizens of Mount Airy. Folks, even in bad times and good times, it just doesnt get any better than that for best citizens representation. I do not claim the city was responsible for everything mentioned here, although many were the result of city efforts, however we did what we could for all and supported and assisted the others with encouragement and the resources available.
Considering all the events during the past eight years I leave the City of Mount Airy in EXCELLENT financial condition and with a bright horizon for future economic growth as the countywide TDA boards and the elected boards of the county and all municipalities cooperate in the improvement efforts for our citizens.
I love this city and all the citizens that live here as we work, worship, educate our children, play, and fellowship together. As time permits I will still be available to volunteer and serve on boards and committees where the interest and objective is for progress and the betterment of our total community. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!

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