By Chuck Garrett
My name is Chuck Garrett and I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue the office of Mayor in New Albany. I was born in Booneville, MS. I am the proud father of four children, Robert, Beth, Emma and Holt. I have four grandchildren, Everett, Kaylee Grace, Archer, and Banks.
In January of 2001, I began my tenure as superintendent of the New Albany School District. Two months later we passed a bond issue with support at 84 percent. We broke ground on New Albany Elementary School in May. Fifteen months later, some 1,100 students attended school there. We initiated the Air Force ROTC program and the first comprehensive Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit program with partners Blue Mountain College and Northeast Mississippi Community College. We led the Mississippi High School Athletics Association to adopt six classifications for athletics and activities. Because of these and many other of our district’s accomplishments, I was named Superintendent of the Year. We were a dynamic organization that took to heart its motto, “The New Albany Schools, Leading the Way for Education in Mississippi.” Upon retirement, I became the Senior Education Consultant for the CREATE Foundation working with the Toyota Wellspring Education Enhancement Fund. We began the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo and the Career Coach program, among a wide variety of other initiatives. I have always been a dynamic agent for change, renewal and progress.
The City of New Albany is geographically situated to become the premier city in North Mississippi but thus far has yet to realize its full potential. We are less than an hour outside of Memphis, a transportation hub and the home of FedEx. We are one of only two towns between Memphis and Atlanta with four exits from Interstate 22. We have the Tallahatchie River running through the center of our city and great railroad access. We have a new industrial park waiting to be filled. We are only thirty miles from Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo and a mere ten miles from the Toyota manufacturing facility in Blue Springs. We are the birthplace of William Faulkner and have an outstanding school district recognized all over the state as a leader in technology. We must initiate ways to use these assets to our advantage.
Most importantly, we have a community that is talented, dedicated, and truly love this city. They have worked tirelessly for years to try and help New Albany meet its goals. To excel, we all need to focus and boost our efforts on infrastructure and community development. We need leadership that sets the highest standards, goals and expectations. We need a leader who knows how to coordinate these efforts. “We can’t” needs to be stricken from our vocabulary. We can, we can, and we must endeavor to reach our lofty goals. We can develop New Albany into a showplace for which we all can be even more proud.
I want to be the Mayor of New Albany because I am confident in my ability to help New Albany meet its potential. New Albany needs a leader with vision and commitment. My vision for New Albany reflects the values of its citizens and will result in a highly inviting, prosperous city that clearly places an outstanding family lifestyle first. I have the administrative background to make this a reality. My experience with budgets, bonds, and grants will be valuable as we leverage your tax dollars for large capital improvement projects that we desperately need. My willingness to cultivate relationships with our state and federal officials will result in their becoming aware of New Albany’s needs in the event funding is made available, on which we can capitalize. We must improve our appearance, our water quality and our streets to match the quality of ALL our treasures. We must become proactive in our planning so that we have “shovel ready” projects on the table. This is how we can maximize your tax dollars!
If elected, I will be both visible and accessible. This is the very least citizens should expect from their Mayor. We have many dedicated department leaders, staff, and support organizations that work very hard for our city. I know how to work with and support a variety of department heads, pulling everyone together for a common goal. My goal is to work with the aldermen to support, coordinate and assist them in their efforts. It is important to have a line of communication between departments ensuring projects are completed in a fiscally responsible manner. I have a proven record of effective, collaborative leadership as former superintendent of New Albany’s schools. Collectively, we can make New Albany the jewel in the heart of the Mississippi hills.
New Albany must become the city of choice for new companies and industries providing new and better job opportunities. Like so many of our citizens, I want good streets, great schools, low taxes, increased internet connectivity, and safe, clean neighborhoods. Yes, we can have it all! We are blessed to live in New Albany, a vibrant, small town in Northeast Mississippi. Our history is rich with people who have lived, loved, and worked to build our town. Now is the time; we are at a crossroads for reaching our extraordinary potential. I need your support in this effort. I need your vote!
Below I have listed a few of the areas in which I see room for growth and development. There is more detail for each topic on my website. (nowisthetimeNA.com). Also, please follow my campaign on Twitter, @cgarrettna, Instagram, @cgarrettna, and Facebook, charles.e.garrett.5.
- Initiate a systematic review and maintenance program for our roads.
- Support and expedite our current water quality program.
- Enhance the appearance of our four I-22 interchanges and the corridors leading into our city.
- Significantly increase high-speed internet accessibility.
- Initiate a public relations and targeted marketing program.
- Pursue the discussed Roundabout for the I-22 and Highway 30 intersection.
- Pursue the discussed railroad overpass at Glenfield to connect the I-22 interchange with Sam Tom Barkley Drive and the industrial parks.
- Reinstate a Park and Recreation Commission to better support the department and its programs.
- Make our city more walkable and bicycle friendly.
- Increase recreation activities and programs for children and adults.
- Provide more opportunities for competitive teams in New Albany.
- Add six tennis courts to the tennis complex.
- Systematically maintain our local parks.
- Aggressively develop and upgrade The Park Along the River.
- Develop the Tallahatchie River for recreation and tourism.
- Open the Trailhead Welcome Center on The Tanglefoot Trail.
- Implement our “New Albany Next” strategic plan as our guide for our long-term improvement, development, and growth.
- Ensure that all our existing and future capital improvement projects provide for a continued maintenance and upkeep schedule.
- Consider the relocation of the Streets Department.
- Continue the revitalization of the Northside neighborhood through the development of vacant properties and renovation of those in need.
- Provide for clean, safe neighborhoods.
- Develop an outstanding partnership with the New Albany School District.
- Improve our support for our tourist attractions, Main Street Association, events, UCDA and our industrial recruitment in ways that will raise these profiles in our community.