Candidates for Lula’s District 2 City Council seat want well-managed growth and more transparency from the city.
Incumbent Marvin Moore has been on the council since he was elected in a special election in 2015. He faces Denise Shockley in the Nov. 2 election. Patti Thomas also qualified to run for the seat, but told the Times Wednesday, Sept. 29, she was backing out of the race to put her full support toward her husband’s run for Lula mayor.
Moore was re-elected in 2017, and he said he’s proud of what the city has done recently including improving infrastructure and parks.
“We’ve had capital projects, and we’ve been able to finish them and add to our parks,” Moore said. “We’re trying to get some money for our parks from a grant.”
Lula expanded the trail system at its Wellness Park in July 2019, and Moore said he wants to continue adding to the popular city park. The recent hire of a code enforcement officer has also been a benefit to the city, he said.
Political experience: City Council member since 2015
Occupation: retired from General Motors
Top issues: managing growth, improving parks
Moore retired after working as a manager at the Doraville General Motors plant for more than 30 years.
One of the biggest challenges for the city going forward, he said, is managing growth and development the right way.
“We know there’s growth coming to our community,” Moore said. “We just want to try and be sure that we can be ready for the growth and not just let it hit us head on and be aware of all that goes with it.”
And not all residents agree on the kind of growth that ought to happen in the city.
“(Many residents) would love to see a grocery store in the area,” he said. “But at the same time, we’ve got a lot of residents that’s not really wanting any growth, but yet they still want a grocery store.”
Political experience: none
Occupation: works at Howard Brothers hardware store, previously Hall County Schools bus driver
Top issues: city communication with residents, managing growth
Moore said the future land use map approved by the City Council earlier this month will also help the city have control over some future developments.
“You can’t stop it (growth), so you just got to make the best of it, so that’s why we’re trying to put some things in place to where we can kind of control it.”
Denise Shockley has been part of the Lula community for many years, formerly working as a bus driver for Hall County Schools for 17 years. She currently works part time at Howard Brothers, a hardware store in the city.
Similar to other challengers for council seats, Shockley said she wants more transparency from the city and better communication between council members and residents. Recently, rumors circulated on social media about a change to the city’s derelict property ordinance, prompting Shockley to attend her first council meeting.
Speculation that the ordinance would give the city increased power of private property was unfounded, she said, but the situation made her want to get more involved.
“I decided, what better way to get in there and figure out what exactly is going on but to get in there and really get involved,” Shockley said of her decision to run. “The biggest issue I have is the transparency of everything. It kind of seems like everything’s kind of held to the last minute for people to know about.”
Some ways the city could communicate better would be mailing information to residents or having designated posts in each city district for information pertinent to the public, Shockley said.
Other areas for improvement include managing growth and improving transportation in the city, she said. When a train is stopped at the downtown railroad tracks, buses and other emergency vehicles don’t have an easy way to get to the other side, she said. Even when the Cobb Street railroad bridge is operational, larger vehicles can’t cross it.
“We need to manage the growth with the small town feel,” Shockley said. “I don’t feel like most citizens want it to become Gainesville. They live here because it’s a small town.”