William Golden, an emergency medical technician, is challenging incumbent Douglasville City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Terry Miller in the Nov. 2 election for the Ward 1 seat that covers areas south and west of downtown including Arbor Station.
Golden said he doesn’t believe the downtown area is as healthy and successful as it could be.
“I would encourage a better clientele of restaurants and small retail,” Golden said. “Bring back the historic feel that main streets are known for. I want to give people a reason to dine and walk around the downtown area. No lounges or Hookah bars.”
Asked whether it’s more important for the city to build new homes and commercial space or rehab existing homes and storefronts, Golden said he would like to see revitalization of homes and “ALL commercial and retail spaces.”
“This has been proven to be successful in bringing back shopping centers such as Burlington Outlet, and others along Highway 5,” Golden said. “There is no reason to build more to sit empty when there is already infrastructure built that can be utilized if promoted and assisted by the city planning and economic development committees.”
On whether there are enough transportation options available in the city, Golden said the options “could be better aligned with the areas of need and accessibility.”
“Cover a broader range,” he said. “In today’s times of Uber, Lyft and other such services, yes we have plenty of options. We could use better sidewalks as people like to walk a short distance and this would provide a healthy alternative.”
Asked if the city has a traffic problem and what he would do to change things, Golden said he sees problems at “certain times of the day and evening” and “especially on certain days of the week on particular streets and roads.”
“First, have real traffic studies by GDOT, not expensive third party firms,” he said in addressing how to fix traffic issues. “Second, not over develop high volume areas of residential zones and retail. Third, work with the city DOT department to better coordinate traffic signals to flow traffic in high volume directions.”
Asked what one thing he would change in the city’s zoning code and why, Golden said the “entire zoning code directive” needs to be updated.
“A master plan that is strictly followed needs to be implemented and not changed to suit the wants of a developer,” he said. “There needs to be high standards set for residential building and commercial development needs to be assigned to set areas.”
Asked what he would do to get residents more involved in the city’s decision-making processes, Golden said if elected he would attend HOA meetings in his ward to “educate and inform residents of what is honestly going on.” He said he would also work with “business managers’’ to “assist in fulfillment of their market needs.” And he said he wants to see “better communication” to residents about city meetings. He said he would form an “advisory team with leaders of my ward and discuss concerns that we each may have.”
On how he would evaluate a proposal to build a new piece of public infrastructure such as a road or bridge, Golden said he would first look at the “residential and environmental impacts” over one-, five- and 20-year time frames. Second, he said he would evaluate whether the infrastructure was needed and if it fits and conforms to the city’s master plan. And he said he would look at what the taxpayer cost would be and why the developer wants to build the project.
Asked what he would do to put the city on firmer financial footing, he said he would meet with the finance committee and department heads to see where streamlining of services could be done “and still provide the best customer service.” Second, he said he would meet with the other council members to discuss the budget taking into account the findings from streamlining departments. And third, he said he would hold as many town hall meetings as possible to “show honest transparency and get as much residential input.”
On what he would use a hypothetical $1 million grant for, Golden said he would work with the council members representing the city’s north side “to better provide economic development and city services along with strong residential communities.”
“The north side has been neglected for many decades while the central, east and south areas of the city have been made productive and profitable,” Golden said. “Fair spending needs to happen all across the city, not just certain areas of personal interest.”
Asked what makes Ward 1 unique, Golden said longtime residents and newer residents “have all worked together to be a close community of knowing and helping their neighbors.”
“Ward 1 has a very well planned retail district that flows with shopping needs,” he said. “The ward could use improvements and the residents who live here deserve better. Ward 1 may seem small on the residential perspective, however they are strong and diligent.”