The tragic number of sexual assaults in 2018 was disturbing and young women in our community have expressed no longer feeling safe in our town.
While Ohio University is likely better positioned to help with any relationship issues, there are some practical steps that our city can take to increase the safety and the sense of well-being of its residents.
My plans for increasing public safety include:
- Improve lighting in dark areas; this has been the top request from young women.
- Get serious about fixing sidewalks around Athens. Not only would pedestrians be more aware of their surroundings if they did not have to look down to avoid tripping, better sidewalks would empower people in wheelchairs, those using walkers, and parents and grandparents pushing baby strollers.
- Make some intersections safer for pedestrians and cars.
- Fix the dangerous area of the Hocking River, near White's Mill, where people have tragically drowned. Fixing that will be complicated, but I like challenges.
Athens has made impressive sustainability progress over the years, and increasingly under Mayor Steve Patterson's administration. I believe we can reach higher and become a model for other small cities around the country. My ideas include:
- Placing solar arrays on more of our public buildings, including the upcoming school buildings. This would reduce the amount of our public dollars that flow out of town for utility bills and support our local solar companies.
- Planting more trees: street trees, trees in the parks, trees on public land. Over the last few decades, Athens has lost close to 40% of its tree canopy. Restoring the canopy would help to cool our city and our homes, while the trees provide many other benefits.
- Requiring the city to choose native trees, shrubs, and flowers when doing municipal plantings. Native plants require less watering and maintenance once established, saving money, and better nourishing native birds, butterflies, bees, and other animals, which would improve our biodiversity.
Careful stewardship of our public resources. Mayor Patterson and his administration are leading us in positive directions and I look forward to working with them. But I will not hesitate to ask tough questions; doing so can often make good proposals even better.
When wise spending proposals are offered for important community improvements, I will support them. But I will seek creative alternatives in order to lower the cost of some spending proposals and will strive to ensure that our parks and public lands are kept as healthy as possible. Overall, I will always try to vote for the best options to help our community members and our town.