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Candidates debate ways to revitalize Lula

POSTED: October 2, 2009 12:08 a.m.

The candidates for Lula City Council squared off Thursday night at a town hall meeting hosted by the Lula Area Betterment Association.

Three seats are up for election this year; two are contested. Paul Cox is running against incumbent Mayor Milton Turner, and Bruce Lane is vying for incumbent Councilwoman Vicky Chamber’s seat. Councilman Mordecai Wilson is running unopposed.

The event was held in the Lula Depot in Downtown Lula. The public was invited to submit questions for the candidates, who had 2 minutes each to respond.

The main theme of the debate was growth.

The tiny town of Lula is poised for major changes over the next decade. The city’s Veterans Park was completed this summer, and a streetscape is in the works to revitalize downtown Lula. A new, high capacity waste water treatment plant and a major community development also are slated nearby.

All the candidates agreed that, regardless of the impending growth in the Ga. 365 corridor, it is important to manage Lula’s growth wisely.

"Lula has a special small-town feel. We want to preserve that," Chambers said.

Wilson said he hopes the residents of Lula will view controlled growth as a positive thing.

"I want you to feel comfortable with that growth," Wilson said. "Let’s make it livable and nice where people want to come join us."

The candidates also discussed ways to bring new businesses into downtown and surrounding areas.

"The key to making this work is the waste water treatment plant," Cox said.

Turner said as more businesses hook up to the sewer system, the fees could go down. He also said there is a benefit for small businesses who locate in downtown buildings.

"There is no tap-on fee. They’re already on sewer," Turner said.

Lane said he thinks the way to bring businesses into Lula is to work on the core of the city and work its way out.

"Lula needs to start on the scale where they’re bringing small businesses in," Lane said.

The candidates also agreed that continuing with the revitalization of the downtown area is important to the future of the city.

Turner said he is working with the council on a memorial in Claude Kelly Park for Maj. Kevin Jenrette, a National Guardsman who died in June while serving in Afghanistan.



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