By SHANNON WATKINS
Sometimes the best news isn’t what people are doing in the community, but what they’re thinking. We present a new feature to you about just that, giving you their answers to a single question.
So far we’ve focused on the idea of improving downtown Pulaski and what both average citizens and business owners think about it. Now, for the first time, we turn to our town government to get their ideas on the matter. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: What role do you see town legislation taking in helping to create a downtown that appeals to tourists and helps draw in new merchants?
Jamie Radcliffe, council member: “The survival of downtown Pulaski is the development of Route 99 to I-81. We can beautify downtown all we want, but if we don’t give easy access, we won’t get anybody in. We need water, lights and sewer out there, but the bottom line is dollars and the state funds are getting smaller and smaller.”
David Clark, council member: “It’s not something that’s easy by any stretch. That’s been a topic since before I came on. I think the most important thing is to keep the blight down. If Main Street looks awful, no one’s coming. Make it look inviting to people. That’s the biggest thing we can do specifically right now.”
Joseph Goodman, vice mayor: “I think the most important thing is to focus on residents and making it attractive and functional for people who live here year round. I think we should resume the program where we work with property owners–they’d put money on the inside, we’d put money on the outside. Then there’s cleaning up certain areas and working out parking problems. What we really need is everyone working together as a community, not just the government doing it or just the citizens doing it.”
Greg East, council member: The elected representatives of the citizens of the town of Pulaski, the Pulaski Town Council, has the responsibility to create a vision for the town, enact legislation that supports that vision and the town staff has an obligation to work faithfully to make Council’s vision a reality. When this happens in unison, our town, over time, will appeal to far more than tourists.
Jeff Worrell, mayor: In the immediate future the priority will be enforcing existing ordinances in the area of property maintenance to eliminate blight, and make downtown more attractive. Until a couple of years ago we had a program that exempted a small business’s first $50,000 from their Business License fee. I would like to see that revisited.
Heather Steele, council member: “We’re going to have to work on getting jobs so people have disposable income, and develop Route 99. “
H.M. Kidd: “It’s really tough right now with our economy. It’s really hard to say what they would entail. The council and the Economic Development Office could work with merchants to get some info and ideas. As far as volunteerism, it’s something that’s going to happen or it isn’t. We’re trying several different options to draw more into town.”