As a 38+ years resident of Walden, our present Vice Mayor Lee Davis is my candidate for our next mayor of Walden.
This election is about informed judgement and pragmatic leadership to preserve the established character of Walden and wise development along Taft Highway.
The proposed strip center with a septic tank for the Lines Orchid property, championed by Mayor Bill Trohanis, has sharply divided our community.
Instead, Vice Mayor Lee Davis has advocated developing a land use plan with citizen input, instead of an outside developer’s, quick-fix, hit-or-miss, strip center with Walden’s first traffic light on Taft Highway.
Walden’s accomplishments have evolved over time with strong consensus by volunteers, primarily by Walden citizens and nearby neighbors. Examples are Walden Ridge Emergency Service, Pumpkin Patch playground, Bachman Community Center, and McCoy Farm & Gardens.
Walden Mayor Bill Trohanis and his supporters point out Bill is retired and has unlimited time for town business. However, when his initial actions are not well researched, doubts are raised. Residents remember:
1. In 2014, when Bill ran for alderman, he suggested the McCoy property could be sold to provide money for the town. If he had used his time to study the deeds from the McCoy family to the town, he would have seen the deeds prohibited such a sale.
2. A year later, when WRES needed land for a new firehall, Mayor Trohanis worked hard to put the large facility on the McCoy property. Here, again, the mayor did not take time to check the deeds, or he would have seen that the deeds prevented such use of the property.
Such a huge facility would have ruined this historic landmark of Tennessee’s former U.S. Senator Bachman and Walden’s author, poet, and naturalist Emma Bell Miles. Dedicated Walden citizens and other volunteers at the same time were working hard to preserve this generous gift for present and future generations.
3. Recently, an ad hoc commercial developer petitioned our Town Council to change zoning restrictions for the Lines Orchids property. Bill endorsed the complex, although it was incompatible with Walden’s established character. In two crowded Town Hall sessions with the support of Alderwoman McKenzie, they quickly approved the complex over strong opposition from residents.
This last example is most relevant. Early on, as the mayor acknowledged, the proposed strip center was dividing the town. The mayor could have utilized land-use planning to protect Walden, to forge a consensus—as Vice Mayor Lee Davis advocated—to bring the community together around a plan that citizens created. Thus, retired or full time status is no asset when facts go unchecked, details are overlooked, and public opinion is blatantly ignored.
Walden’s proud achievements, like its creation in 1975, have come from citizens’ initiatives, from the ground up, not dictated from the top down.
Although I appreciate our current mayor personally, I simply disagree both with the proposed Lines property proposal and with the way it has been handled.
Additionally, Alderwoman candidate Lizzy Schmidt shares Lee Davis’ views on this issue. Lizzy is an experienced attorney and a local resident with ancestral roots in Walden.
In summary, it’s time for new leadership. Lee Davis, vice mayor since 2015, can provide that leadership. With Lee and Lizzie our Town Council can lead Walden with responsible commercial development that provides new sales taxes and property taxes without undermining historic Walden values.
Maurice E. Edwards