My vision for Abita Springs is to have a good business culture by inventorying the needs of the community and to pursue business to insure the needs of the community are always kept top of mind. To find businesses that understands the culture and charm of our Town and is like minded to come in to enhance and not distract from the charm and character of Abita. I want to have an infrastructure that will keep pace with the 8% growth we are now experiencing per year and to make sure we are poised for the future and that we do it in the most economically sound and envioremently friendly way possible. I want to have a well-researched Master Plan with zoning overlays and planned green spaces to continue to promote Abita as a place to move and raise your children in a safe and secure environment. We are known as the “Ozone Belt” I want a comprehensive plan to make sure that we can continue to make this claim in the future. I would like to continue to plan and expand our Trailhead. It is a draw to both residents and visitors alike. I plan to work closely with citizens, businesses and corporate entities to expand recreation at the park to include new play features and expand the water park.
I worked with Mayor Fitzmorris to design and build the Abita Trailhead Water Park. I researched water parks and we contacted Water Spray Features out of Texas. I worked with Rick Edwards the owner to design the feature and worked with the Council to move the project to completion.
I was the Co-Founder of the Abita River Chili Cook-Off, along with Martha my wife that donated all of our proceeds to the enhancement of the Park and downtown area. We helped finance the Abita Water fill station at the roundabout, Friends of the park playground, a Pergola to the Park and funds for the continued upkeep of the park.
Manage Growth. We are growing at approximately 8% per year. We need to have a comprehensive plan to manage that growth and to have it enhance the character of Abita.
Infrastructure. As we continue to grow the utilities will need to be evaluated and either updated or replaced. We are now in the process of addressing the sewage system that is dated and leaking. Going forward we will need to look at our Gas distribution system, sewage treatment facilities, lift stations, roads and water system. We will need to plan and budget correctly to make sure we are addressing the needs of the residents of Abita.
Zoning/Master Planning. It is imperative that we review current zoning to make sure that it is in line with the character and vision for Abita Springs. I feel it is extremely important that we review, revise and have a detailed master plan for the Town. As we continue to grow we want to make sure development is right for the area and adds to the charm that we all love about Abita.
It would be premature to say what needs to be done at this time. I would look at all aspects of the Towns policy and procedures and review the Code of Ordinances to see what changes are necessary to bring any ordinances up to date and insure that they are relevant.
First off with the growth we are experiencing we need to make sure our Impact fees are comparable to the municipalities of our size. We need to take inventory of the businesses we have and what businesses our community need. With that knowledge we should have an Economic Growth Committee that would approach business to move and establish roots in our community.
It is easy to arm chair quarterback on this one. Without having the information and insight to what is actually needed at this time would only be conjecture.
I was part of the First comprehensive look and revision of the Planning and Zoning guidelines. It was a heartfelt and tedious process. That being said, I feel it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that planning and zoning guidelines be reviewed annually to make sure that they remain relevant as we grow. It is almost impossible to take into account each circumstance but it is necessary to have safeguard to make sure that we face nothing community threating. We need to look at our historic district and to look to possible expansion. Our major growth is going to be on Hwy 36 to our east and from Harrison Avenue across the Tammany Trace to Hwy 36. We need to assure we have plans in place to what can be built in these areas and how we want them to look. WE have a character and charm to protect and we need to make sure our plans are best for our future.
I believe that a Master Plan is essential to the future of Abita Springs. I feel it should be collaboration between the Council, our residents and businesses to chart a smart and sustainable future for our community. We should have input from all stake holders and have open and candid discussions as to what we want our Town to reflect for the next 10 years. It is going to be a journey but one I look forward being a part of as my Town is your Town and together we can make it the best it can become.
We do have several Environmental Issues to face.
Growth is one. We have to make sure any growth takes into account the area and environment it is going to impact. We need to make sure any new growth will make the smallest impact to the surrounding area.
Second, we need to evaluate our Sewage Treatment Facility. As we grow we are going to strain an already taxed system. It is time to address upgrading or replacing the facility so that we assure our Rivers, Streams and Groundwater are protected.
Three, Trees. They are what make us the Ozone Belt. We need to actively protect, within reason, the tree Canopy.
I served 8 years on the Board of Alderman and was on the Infrastructure Committee for the entire time I served. I worked closely with each administration to improve our Town and quality of life by not passing relevant legislation but also drafting ordinances to improve quality of life. I am dedicated to this town and its quirky live style and small Town feel. I look forward to charting the way to the future for us and to make us a better and move vibrant Town. It is easy to run for office but it is hard to SERVE. You have to put aside your personal interests to assure that you are taking into account the wants and needs of those who elected you. As I said for the 8 years I served this Town as Alderman, “I SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PUBLIC”.