Why do you personally desire to serve the next four (4) years as a Pigeon Forge Commissioner?
- Having been born in Pigeon Forge and attending Pigeon Forge schools (K-12), I have always loved our city and been proud to call myself a Tiger. With Pigeon Forge being my forever home, I have contemplated running for some time and after the recent fires, I felt led to serve. The tragedy was an eye-opening experience, which showed me some of the great needs of our community. I realized in that moment it was time to take my energy and work ethic to city hall and go to work for the people and businesses of Pigeon Forge. I would love to be a part of the continued growth in making Pigeon Forge a great place to live, work, and visit.
What three (3) specific goals would you like to accomplish during your term and how do you propose to accomplish these goals?
– a. With our city’s continued growth, our infrastructure is of the upmost importance. We must maintain our current roads and move forward with the planning and construction of new roads. At the same time the city should look at hiring their own city engineer to work on fixing traffic patterns, synchronizing city traffic lights, evaluating the dated underground utilities (water & sewer lines), being on call to assist the public works department with other city projects, and begin the planning process for underground power and citywide wi-fi .
- Redevelopment of Prime Properties in the TDZ
–a. There are three prime properties we must find new development for in the next four years. The Boyd’s Bear Barn, Belz Mall, and Red Roof Mall have set empty or with little activity for 8-12 years now. The city should work alongside the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, Sevier County Economic Development Council, and realtors to recruit potential investors and help them put together the deals to find uses for and/or revive these properties.
- Public Transit
– a. I am for the offering of year-round trolley service in Pigeon Forge. With the success of Winterfest, busy holiday weekends, and residents, guests, senior citizens, and/or workers who depend on public transit, there is a need for continuation of abbreviated services January through March. I will work with my fellow commissioners to explore avenues to fund this service extension, and will work with our trolley administration to work out the logistics.
Tourism is the second largest industry in the State of Tennessee, the predominant producer of jobs for Pigeon Forge and the cornerstone of our economy. Tourism advertising produces $57 to $1 return on investment (ROI) per the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism via Majority Opinion Research. What are your feelings toward the amount or percentage of the City’s budget that is invested in tourism advertising and are you committed to finding ways to grow this investment?
- Tourism is the life blood of Pigeon Forge. I would strive to maximize the efficiency for every dollar spent. I am all for increasing the spending to advertise to our potential and existing visitors if we know the positive benefit from it. I will work with the department of tourism and fellow commissioners to find ways to grow this investment.
What three (3) specific challenges do you see facing our City during your term and how do you propose to address these challenges?
- Affordable Workforce Housing
– a. Speaking from experience, we are already having trouble hiring employees, and without a solution, we will experience a hiring shortage. The fires have only compounded this problem. Pigeon Forge offers an abundance of jobs, but has nowhere for workforce to live. We must explore ways to assist developers in providing potential housing. The problem is now and we must act.
- Emergency Services
– a. The fires showed us we must be prepared at all times. We have to make sure that our emergency services are equipped with the best resources to be prepared for anything that may arise. We need to explore purchasing a full fleet of vehicles for our police to offer take home cars to increase response time and to deter crime in their neighborhoods. The police and fire need to be competitively compensated for the workload amount, recruitment of new hires, and retention of current force. We must also continue to work with our emergency crews and neighboring cities to develop a master emergency plan in case another tragedy comes our way.
- Solid Waste/Waste Water
– a. In addition to the above-mentioned infrastructure problems, we need to be proactive and evaluate our waste water plant and solid waste land fill for the future. With the continued growth of our city, we will eventually out grow our current waste water plant. To solve this issue in the future, I would call on our city engineer to explore our options in alleviating this problem. Also, due to rapid growth and the recent fires, our county land fill is nearing capacity. The discussions and planning for a solution to this problem is imperative.