ALMA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In the River Valley, voters in Alma will decide who will be representing their city as the next mayor.
There are five people in the race to be the next Alma mayor, including the incumbent, Jerry Martin. Running against Martin are Eddie Wakefield, Brent Gardner, Jim Fincher and Gary Perry.
Each of the candidates spoke about how the city is rapidly growing, and what plans they have to keep up with the growth. Here’s what they had to say:
“We wanted to make sure that we had high-speed fiber, commercial, quality internet, especially if we’re going to be recruiting business, but we need it for the residential side also,” said Martin.
“I just want to see us proceed on with projects like see our bike trails go to the next tier, make improvements to our walking trail, help develop downtown,” said Wakefield.
“I’d like to see the growth of the city via the city limits being expanded and to incorporate more city structure by adding businesses and stuff, so that we don’t have to disrupt the bedrock of the community downtown,” said Gardner.
“I think we can do this organically. Every business in Alma that I have visited is looking for employees, so maybe we can create 50, 70, 100 jobs, helping them fill their needs without even having to spend any money on infrastructure,” said Fincher.
“I think if we promoted Alma, I think we’ll have other businesses that would be interested in coming and staying,” said Perry.
Another topic the candidates agree on is improving the city’s retention, meaning they want those who grow up in Alma to want to stay and raise their own families in the city instead of moving somewhere else. Here’s what all five said the best solution to this would be:
“Job growth for retention. We want to make our city future-proof as we move forward, working on land use plans, trying to incentivize development and redevelopment in our downtown area,” said Martin.
“I’d really like to see us develop some programs for families. Do some family entertainment, whether it’d be at downtown or in the park or something like that. Maybe develop some entertainment areas,” Wakefield.
“Development of a farmers market downtown to where we can integrate kids on the weekends. Development of some of our parks that have been outlined, but not finished,” said Gardner.
“I really want to get with everybody in the city, including students. I propose to get with the school. I would like to set up a junior city council, ” said Fincher.
“We need to get people out, but we need to have something for them to come out to, for them to enjoy, like the parks, event, plays,” said Perry.
They all agree the decision is in the people’s hands and they hope those who can vote will vote.