The only contested race in Tyrone on the November ballot is for the Post 3 race featuring incumbent Councilman Ken Matthews and challenger Eric Woods.
The candidates responded to several questions from The Citizen. Responses for print were limited to 250 words each. The full interview with responses to all questions is online at TheCitizen.com.
1. With Tyrone now adding additional sewer capacity, how do you think that capacity should be used?
Eric Woods — “Before additional sewer capacity usage can be determined, some type of modeling group needs to be called upon to determine the current flow capacity of the additional sewer capability. The incumbent never spoke on this issue or provided any knowledge of what it takes to determine correct sewer capacity and usage.
“This is a process requiring detailed analysis, not haphazard reactionary responses. Current flow capacity is also determined by the diameter of the pipes of the current service in place and adequately connected to the sewer service line to the sewer main. If there is adequate capacity to the sewer main, there will probably not be any additional charges. If pipe upsizing is required, then the town will incur additional charges.
“This type of analysis needed to be conducted at least a decade ago in order to avoid poor planning today. If all things were aligned and there was adequate capacity, I would like to see a 60/40 split on additional sewer capacity. Sixty percent being allocated towards residential lots, and 40 percent going towards new business ventures. This will keep the focus of our growth on families while allowing our business prospects to grow.”
Ken Matthews — “The additional sewer capacity should be used to help, encourage business growth as well as to go and help current businesses in the Tyrone downtown core. I would think Fayette County schools may wish to bring sewer to Tyrone Elementary and renovate so school can reopen to students learning. Lastly, as capacity is available, usage could possibly be offered for residential usage within the area of sewer lines already placed at that time.”
2. More specifically, the council recently heard a presentation on potential infill and other development in the Town Hall/Shamrock Park area. How do you believe this area of town should develop, if at all?
Matthews — “The presentation on potential infill and other development in Town Hall/Shamrock Park area is a viable future plan according to what the town has heard from residents during several open house types of events. Before any of the potential infill can occur sewer would need to be in the area and current businesses offered to tie into sewer usage. I think the proposed style or types of building would be a good addition to the town and add businesses to the downtown district. We need to consider what the current property owners in the infill areas wish to do with the current properties. I would like to see new controlled and guided additional development within the town.”
Woods — “For starters, there must not be any growth of this area without input from a committee consisting of residents of all walks of life. Seniors and millennials, families and single citizens, business and law makers need to sit at the same table and make some recommendations. I would love the opportunity to lead a diverse group to determine what’s best for our town. Without the existence of such a group, I can only offer the area mentioned needs developing. A phenomenal project would consist of multi-purpose paths, green space, culminating with development where Tyronians can live, work and play in this area. This is all dependent on what soil and land analysis will allow to be constructed.”
3. What is your stand on the town’s overall future growth?
Matthews — I wish for Tyrone to grow in a quality and controlled manner, in which will be beneficial to the town citizens and the fiscal growth within Tyrone. I have to keep in mind the infrastructure of Tyrone and how things may have to be re-engineered at a cost to all of the people who live and pay taxes in Tyrone.
Woods — My stand on the town’s overall future growth is extremely positive if we can plan effectively. The incumbent has been resistant to growth, and this is evident by the look of our downtown area. Ask yourself what has changed downtown in the last 8-10 years? Why is Sonic still closed with nothing in place to occupy this space? The incumbent has been reactive rather than proactive. We need bold, forward thinking to prepare for the town’s growth logically and effectively. You can’t stop growth, look at our population in the last 10 years. Tyrone grew from approximately 3,500 in 2007 to approximately 7,800 people today. We could easily reach approximately 16,000 by 2028. What’s the plan? I can plan for this, I’ve been a future planner for over 25 years.
4. How do you define quality of life for Tyrone citizens and how can it be enhanced?
Woods — I define quality of life for a town as being in a position where a family can live, work and be entertained in the same municipality. This type of quality of life would also generate revenue for our town. Right now, a resident of Tyrone’s dollar only circulates in Tyrone one time. We can live in Tyrone. However, if and when we desire to take our family to a 4- or 5-star restaurant, we must take our dollars to neighboring municipalities thus boosting their economy. Bottom line, all of our surrounding cities residents can circulate their dollars in their cities at least three times before it that dollar leaves their city. We can only do it once for sure, once and a half?
Matthews — Tyrone’s quality of life is one of family usage for sports, recreation and home life in a safe secure environment. Not only is Tyrone family-oriented, we have many empty nesters and retirees who enjoy walking, biking and antique shopping or dining out. Though Tyrone could use additional choices within town, many of our citizens enjoy performing arts and the Legacy Theater and the schools help in fulfilling the need. Shopping and walking within downtown would help keep the strip centers to a lower pace in building. With the new Founders Studio’s coming to Tyrone, I would think many changes could occur, which isn’t a bad thing as long as Tyrone keeps quality and control of building.
5. What is your vision for both the council and the town?
Matthews — My vision for council and the town is to work together as much as possible to help keep Tyrone safe, fiscally-sound and open to citizens inquiries. As a council member already, I know there are many things that need regular attention, like revising ordinances and zonings and activities of all departments and services in which Tyrone offers, the biggest of which is budget control and police (Public Safety) and public works for our infrastructure.
Woods — Here is my awesome vision for Tyrone and the council: A vibrant diverse economy, a superior place where residents can live, work and play. This is accompanied by an engaged community with coordinated and collaborative planning; empowering residents to participate in grass-roots projects, forums and collaborative advisory and commission boards. This will yield an opportunity for dialogue, listening, learning and joint citizen/council problem solving. Tyrone, help me help you. Elect Eric Woods to Tyrone Town Council Post 3. We can do this, lets advance Tyrone forward together.
6. As a voter, what is your political affiliation/persuasion?
Woods — Being a career Army senior officer afforded me the opportunity to serve and live in Republican, Democratic, and Independent, states, cities and base locations. I miss my career because we constantly worked together to accomplish the mission. What does it matter if I am a Democrat and I am willing to plan for and provide services for our aging population? What does it matter if I am willing to recruit the right business mix for our town in order to improve our quality of life? Our millennials are leaving and not returning, we need to find out why or the town could eventually suffer. If you needed a heart transplant and the cardio-thoracic surgeon was the best there is, but he or she was not a member of a particular political group, are you going to tell them to let you pass on? I think not, you’re going to say, I can’t wait to wake up and see you and my family. Lastly, I am so ready to stop seeking those issues that divide us. I am in constant pursuit for that which will unite us.
Matthews — As a voter, I look at the issues currently and how things can be made better. I also look at an incumbent’s voting record within their office if an incumbent is on ballot. I also place into consideration how much the candidate is involved in the area (community) of office. I consider the candidate’s demeanor towards the office and people of the area.