Collegedale Mayor John Turner told the Chattanooga Nightside Pachyderm Club that since his time in office, he was most proud of his appointments to the city's planning commission.
He said, "I've been able to place five of the nine positions on that planning commission with young people."
Some of those nominees have engineering degrees, some are parents. What they have in common is that they are the "next generation that's going to run our city.
Mayor Turner said, "They have a stake in this, it's going to be theirs...they bring in fresh ideas to us."
Much has changed since he took over in 2005.
He said, "When I took over as mayor, we were literally almost bankrupt."
Now, he the city is in a "solid financial state." He said the only two outstanding debts are payments on the airport and on the veteran's park.
The city has also grown substantially since 2005. Because of this, Mayor Turner has helped created ordinances so that growth does not happen "haphazardly."
Businesses building in Collegedale must meet a certain standard of appearance. He said, "The new buildings are not built solely of one material. They look really, really nice."
He also said, "As existing places remodel, if their remodeling affects more than 25 percent of the value, their remodeling has to adhere to our standards."
However, he said, "We try to work with those people when that comes up to be as flexible as we can while still adhering to our principles."
Another project the mayor is working is updating the children's imagination station.
Mayor Turner said, "We are going to completely revamp, redo and remodel our imagination station...It draws people from all over the area and it's a really good recreational facility for small children."
When the updates are finished, the facility will be completely ADA compliant. Another upgrade will be the ability to view all of the playground area from the surround benches. Parents will now have full view of their children at all times.
He said, "That project will hopefully get underway in September."
Overall, he said, "In 20 years, if somebody comes to our town for the very first time, we want them to say 'Wow, this is a really cool little town.'"
Ethan White, Chester Bankston, John Turner, John Shackleford
- Photo2 by Hollie Webb