Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason qualified Monday morning to run for a second term in office. The announcement comes after some initial questions about whether or not Eason wanted to run again.
“A number of people have talked to me about staying on to try to continue some of the projects that are ongoing in the city,” said Eason about why he decided to seek reelection. “Not to say that a new mayor wouldn’t do the same that I’ve been doing, but we’ve got some momentum going on a lot of different things that are happening here — the park, the farmer’s market, the dog park, downtown parking — just a lot of projects that are very positive for our community, not just the city, but the county citizens as well.”
“We want to try to continue to be a place where people can gather and enjoy life and have a good experience,” he added.
One of the major tasks that Mayor Eason undertook was revamping the ordinances in the city, some of which hadn’t been touched in twenty or thirty years.
“We tried to look at everything we are doing as a city and trying to become more current with the times — not necessarily progressive, but more defined rules and regulations.”
But Eason was clear that his job’s not over. There are still many things he hopes to accomplish in the city, and it starts with revamping the heart of the city.
“We’ve got to do something with our downtown,” Eason said. “Whether it’s an off-highway growth plan or a plan that includes the highway.”
A key part of Eason’s plan to update the city would be getting truck traffic to go around the main part of downtown with an extension of the Perimeter Road bypass.
“This has been on the books for 20 years, 15 years or whatever, and we have not had any guidance from them (Georgia Department of Transportation) on planning,” Eason said. “Our previous council several councils back approved subdivisions that have changed the potential routes. We’ve asked them to give us a firm route — what is it they’re going to do, so we can plan accordingly.”
The plan to extend the road has met criticism recently due to possible impacts on neighborhoods like Burt’s Crossing, as well as the argument that creating a bypass will strangle downtown’s economy.
“Look at places like Dahlonega,” countered Eason. “It [a bypass] hasn’t hurt them one bit. It’s helped them because now it’s a place where people want to come to, not to avoid. Dahlonega had a lot of foot traffic from the college, but once they got the trucks out, people drive from Cumming, Dawsonville, all over to go to downtown Dahlonega to enjoy the restaurants and shops.”
“I think we can do the same thing here,” he added.
In addition to a possible bypass, angled parking spaces are in the works for downtown.
“Those straight-in parking spaces downtown are very dangerous to someone trying to back out, so we’ve got our engineering group that’s drawing up designs,” said Eason. “Once they’ve designed how they should lay out, we’ll get them turned.”
When asked why people should vote to him, Eason just laughed.
“I don’t ask anybody to vote for me. I ask people to consider me. If somebody runs against me, I’m not going to come up and say ‘will you vote for me?’ That’s a decision that each person needs to make for themselves. My request would be that you consider me. Look at the candidates and make your own decision.”