Recently, the city council voted to appoint me to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB). The purpose of the CVB is to sponsor events and attract visitors to the city. At our last meeting, I suggested a unique way to showcase our creek, creekwalk, and various events that we sponsor by purchasing a quad-copter that has an attached HD camera. We voted unanimously to appropriate the funds needed to purchase one of these devices.
One of the things we envisioned when making this decision was to have the drone fly down our creek to showcase our greatest natural resource in the city. We are planning on putting in a canoe launch soon and getting people on our creek is a priority in our overall planning. We also wanted to utilize it in showing our nature trail that follows along the creek which we are in the process of expanding at both ends. The other thing we discussed was using it to get aerial footage of our outdoor events such as 1890’s day and our Christmas parade.
There are some legitimate concerns that we considered going into this decision that I wanted to address. The first concern is privacy. The CVB will use this technology explicitly for promoting the city. Law enforcement will have no access to it. We don’t want our citizens or visitors to have the impression we are moving toward invasive uses that violate their rights. We will not be flying over people’s back yards or peering through their window. Another concern is that we are using our money wisely. The funding for the CVB comes from hotel/motel taxes from people visiting from outside the city. Half of that tax revenue goes to the city’s general fund and the other half goes to the CVB to be spent on attracting visitors. Compared to the things we have used this money on in the past, this is a relatively small acquisition ($1,200), but it has a potential to give us wonderful footage of the best things we have to offer. I welcome any comments or concerns.
My e-mail address is ViceMayorMillwood@gmail.com.
We’ve just finished a mini surgery with my youngest daughter. She’s recuperating well. My wife and three girls are doing great. My oldest, Allison, has started running on my middle school cross country team. She’s at RMS with me this year. Anna is fabulous and in 5th grade at RES. Molly’s 2 1/2 and already established such a strong identity. My Lori is beautiful, hard working, and devoted. I cannot say enough grateful things about her. School’s right around the corner and it’s exciting getting a new set of students.
City Council stuff:
There’s some city land in the Bluff View area that the council is (hopefully) willing to lend for a community garden. It’s beside my house in an area that they were apparently going to put a pump station at one point. The land is big enough to put pretty much anything we want. I’m going to try and partner with a local home improvement store to sponsor the project. To make it beautiful like some garden of Eden feel would be really neat. A fruit/veggie/flower/community hang out garden would be wonderful. A great reason and destination for an evening stroll. Involving our local retirement community on Lone Mountain would also be nice. Finding someone to volunteer to pick them up periodically should be easy enough. Many living there can still drive. We could also donate a portion of the food to local people in need. An effective project like this could strengthen the community in so many ways.
We’re also looking for ways to utilize our creek area throughout the city because it is our best and most beautiful natural resource. The canoe / kayak launch will be nice, but we still need to find a good “out” point and figure a good way to address the pipe that crosses the creek in the Bluffview subdivision.
I’ve also been setting up a non-profit organization. We’re calling it Stepping Stone Outdoors. Soon we’ll be sponsoring events with contests to raise money for getting people involved in nature here in the community.
The Center for Hope has been helping me find resources in the community to further my ability to mentor. Their board meeting was encouraging, and Dr. Denny gave me the opportunity on Aug. 2nd to speak with the Kiwanis Club about the things I was working toward in the community. The Center for Hope is all about helping people heal and it would be an honor to partner with them in some way.
Otherwise, I’ve been enjoying my summer off. My wife has been doing some tutoring over the break and the girls have slept in impressively. The baby’s even starting to catch on.
Find a way of contacting me if you have a good idea for the city. You can always leave me a message at City Hall. Till next time. 🙂
Earl Henderson, Randall Franks, Mayor Barger, Me, Terry Crawford, Larry Black
I was officially sworn in almost one year ago to a 4 year term as a Ringgold City Councilman. There have been many eye opening moments in the past 12 months, and I have become very encouraged by the willingness of this council to take action and become involved in the direction of our city. Just recently, we approved $250,000 be put into our Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in order to begin projects associated with bringing our downtown to life. We have had quite a few buildings sit vacant and deteriorate.
We brought experts in from Rome Ga’s DDA, and they were able to provide us with a couple of good base plans that had proven results. We have hired a new point person who’s only responsibility is to effectively leverage the city’s initial investment and help rebuild our downtown.
One of my personal goals is to create a wider diversity of business and career opportunities. The more variety we have in what we offer, the more we can prosper locally. Of coarse we don’t have any real say (outside of city code) in what people owning commercial property do with it. What we can do is pay attention, and show them that we’re committed to making their business happen here.
Our monthly budget is tight. We currently have an emergency fund set aside. Our revenue stream needs to rebound to pre-tornado levels. There are too many businesses that have not returned, namely hotels, that generate much of the city’s tax base. Our goal is to be as business friendly as possible, but I would also like our city to remain unique. We are considering some ordinance modifications to maintain a small town feel while not overburdening potential entrepreneurs and businesses.
This council is very representative of our community. Our variety of personalities and experiences has served us well. The big difference I would like to see is for the city to elect a woman to serve on the council and better represent our population.
The gentlemen I serve with are truly devoted to what is best for the City of Ringgold. We have come together to accomplish some very positive things to grow our city. We’ve also had some strong disagreements. Each one of us are devoted to what we think is right for the city. Going head to head over things people feel passion for is always a challenge. We have been able to work through these times and will continue to in a way that’s civil and lends respect to the office we hold.
I am encouraged and happy with the first year of my term and I am even more excited about the next three. Thank you for reading and I will keep the updates coming.