- Monday, 04 November 2019
- Written by Jami McLaughlin
The Town of Spring Lake is a town with explosive potential, one that needs strong leadership. I was encouraged to run for Mayor of Spring Lake and I can provide that leadership as we look forward to rejuvenating our town with unity, transparency and more communication to residents. This is our town.
With a long standing history in the town from my grandfather Grady Howard being the first mayor and first Chamber of Commerce president and my grandparents having Howard’s Variety Store on Main Street, and also in my own history of serving as Mayor Pro Tem and Alderman for two terms, as the Executive Director of the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce and as the editor of the Spring Lake Beacon, a partnership with Up and Coming Weekly, I can say I know the residents and businesses and can see where we can grow.
My vision for Spring Lake is one of passion. This town and our residents deserve the best. As we look towards the next couple of years and beyond, we need to put policies and partnerships in place that will help us get to where we need to go. We need to bring back our small town mentality, but balance with the trends of Main Street development, marketing and events, which will only be assets moving forward. As I have been going door to door, I have heard the need for change. The need to re — look at our town with fresh eyes. I serve as the Spring Lake representative for the Cumberland County Joint Planning Board where we will be making our town a priority for a new land use plan and also updating our municipal area of influence. This is vitally important considering our need for new businesses, redeveloped infrastructure, jobs, entertainment and the like. Our need for economic growth is one that concerns all of us, from the families who have built their lives here to the new residents moving in. Our tax rate is the highest in the county and we need strong leadership to ensure that our budget is transparent allowing community input before we make those decisions. We need to work harder to get information out to residents and bring involvement that is so key.
I have spent the last 20 years volunteering in this community from serving on the 50th Anniversary committee to my current position as Town Historian. In between, I have co — written a history book about Spring Lake with Howard B. Pate, Jr. I was named Spring Lake Volunteer of the Year and was also named to the first class of Fayetteville’s 40 under Forty. I have been involved in everything from children’s support organizations like Communities in Schools of Cumberland County, the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County Board of Directors, Fayetteville Urban Ministry and March of Dimes to military relations on the MAC Council, as an active member of DUSA and as an honorary commander on Pope AFB to being the 50th Anniversary Holly Day Fair Chair for Junior League of Fayetteville and writing Fayetteville Area Mom on the Go, a blog to help residents find events and activities in our area, which was also named the WRAL top five blog in the state of NC last year. I also currently serve on the Spring Lake Economic Development Advisory Board.
My educational and professional background in nonprofit management, communications, downtown development and marketing are only part of what I bring to the table. In today’s world, there is too much that divides us. I want to bring all our neighborhoods, no matter our economic circumstances, political affiliations or backgrounds, to find solutions that create bright futures for all of our people. Spring Lake is an extraordinary community, and by working tirelessly to break down barriers, we can create a town where success, health and progress is available to everyone.
I am very thankful to my family, my children and my friends for supporting me to run. I hope I can count on your vote, a vote for Spring Lake.
• Economic growth – We need to determine how to work with Fort Bragg and outlying areas to grow our town businesses and lower our tax rate. We need to create strong partnerships with our local leaders surrounding our town and doing business around us. Our neighbors have experienced growth around us so looking at our “Municipal Area of Influence” is going to be important as we exist in regard to economic growth and development, both preserving our important areas and working towards improving our others.
• Main Street development – We have applied to be a Main Street community in NC and working on our downtown will provide events, businesses and a “heart” to our town. The Main Street program, along with our Main Street Overlay District guidelines, will bring new life to a section of town that has not reached its full potential in a few decades. Think parades, more street fairs, thriving restaurants, cafes and living space. I am looking forward to citizen involvement as committees are formed and seeing our downtown area transform, and transform Spring Lake for the better. This is about quality of life.
• Parks and recreation – Our children are important. We need to look at upgrading our fields for soccer and football. We need to improve our programs and our outreach so that soccer, baseball, basketball, cheer, tennis and our other programs are full and children are experiencing the full programs that rival other towns and communities. We need to make sure our parks, walking trails and green space are well — lit and safe for our families.
• Budget –We need to look at our budget with town involvement. The budget process should be on the Town website well before the budget approval process and everyone should have input. This is your money. You should know where every dollar comes from and where every dollar goes. We have the highest valuation tax in the county. We have infrastructure that needs to be improved so we can avoid flooding in our streets and create a better quality of life in our neighborhoods.
• Safety – This is at the forefront thought of most families in our town. We need visible police presence in our neighborhoods, our parks and throughout our town. Our police officers and firemen should know us, not just when a call comes in, but through a gentle reminder that they are here to serve and protect. Our police and fire departments through community engagement and school visits can help educate and build our community for future generations.
• Unity – Our town board needs to represent and respond to ALL citizens in Spring Lake. Our town motto “Unity for Prosperity” rang true when it was created and resonates strongly today. We need a town board who will answer the call whoever is on the line. We need to hear from ALL residents. We need to listen to ALL residents. Connectivity, transparency and unity are what will help our Town get to the next level. Our Town is on the cusp of greatness, we will be looking towards a balanced quality of life. We can be proud of Town. It will take all of us!