Election season brings election questions, and this year The Citizen posed identical questions via email to the three Peachtree City candidates for City Council Post 3.
Candidates (in photos above, L-R) include Kevin Madden, 67, air cargo sales, who lives in McIntosh Corner; student Sarah Toussaint, 22, who lives in The Marks; and former one-term mayor and retiree Harold Logsdon, 72, who lives in Morallion Hills.
1. What specific things do you see that could help solve the traffic problems in Peachtree City? And specifically, what should be done to improve traffic flow?
Harold Logsdon — Traffic seems to be a never-ending issue. It was a major issue when I was mayor of Peachtree City, and it continues to be an issue today. More traffic studies are not the answer. More capacity is not the answer because it’s expensive, and if you expand capacity, usually demand will respond and we will see even more cars on the road. It’s time to think outside the box. It’s time to be creative in finding ways to relieve traffic congestion in certain areas of Peachtree City, especially at Ga. highways 54 and 74. We have to look at more right-in, right-out options — which will relieve some congestion and improve traffic flow. Peachtree City needs another East-West Corridor on the north side of the city to allow for alternate routes around the city. I also think it’s time to look at roundabouts when possible. The congestions problems in Peachtree City are solvable but will be costly and more than city taxpayers can bear alone. I have spent the last 12 years working with, and networking with, city, county and state officials. We need to leverage that experience to help correct our traffic problems, including finding ways to use federal and state funding to take the full burden off the city taxpayers.
Sarah Toussaint — I am not a traffic expert, so I can’t tell you exactly what impact any action will have on our traffic. MacDuff Parkway may or may not help with our traffic woes, but we started it so we need to finish it without delay and see what it does. Regardless, I do have ideas that I think would improve traffic and are worth looking in to. We should consider preventing right turns on red from Ga. Highway 74 South to Hwy. 54 West and adding a second right turn lane there, and adding another left turn lane from Hwy. 54 West to Hwy. 74 South. We need to not only alleviate the congestion now, but also plan for future traffic increases as our neighbors grow so we are not faced with this again.
Kevin Madden — City roads that have congestion issues should be examined and recommendations made to the council to determine whether round-abouts, traffic lights or other measures can improve traffic flow. However it is the state roads that have the biggest traffic problems. All state road construction, improvements and modifications are handled by the Georgia Department of Transportation and are not within the authority of the Peachtree City Council.
That being said, the council works with the GDOT and we will work with our representative, Sam Wellborn of the Southern District, to insure that our voice is heard in any decision within our city limits and beyond. The current plan for lane additions at the Hwy. 54/74 intersection will help in the short term, but the real solutions to our traffic flow requires a north/south bypass.
Traffic to and from Fayetteville and Newnan need additional outlets to alleviate the congestion within Peachtree City proper. My recommendation would be for widening a connection south of our city, perhaps from Ga. Highway 16 to Ga. Highway 85 approaching Fayetteville from the south. In the north, perhaps a connection via Tyrone Road connecting Coweta County to Hwy. 74 and then eastbound into Fayetteville. These bypasses will draw traffic away from the choke point of highways 54/74. This certainly seems to me a common sense solution to the increasing traffic of the future especially when the projected 3,000 homes are built on our border in Coweta County.
2. What is your vision for both the council and the city?
Kevin Madden — I’ve been an active member of our community for over 20 years and too often in the past I have seen our local government crippled by animosity and rancor. We finally have a council that respects each other’s opinions and knows how to compromise. Good government is not an accident. It requires dedicated people to step up and sacrifice their time for the benefit of the community. Without these citizens willing to serve, the danger is elected officials whose only interest is serving their own agendas to the detriment of the communities they are supposed to represent.
My vision is to continue with a council that represent the peoples’ interests, real “civil” servants who can work together in harmony and mutual trust to address our city’s needs. The important issues facing us require a sober, compassionate council and with my extensive experience, knowledge and skills, I know I can be a positive addition to our city’s government.
Harold Logsdon — First, let me state that the vision for the council and city needs to be about more than my vision. It needs to reflect the vision of the residents of the city. We must engage all members of the community when creating a vision for our city and plan for the future. We must address the wants and needs of the residents, the business owners, public safety and all other stakeholders. We must generate public support for a vision that will maintain momentum for implementing the change.
With that said, I will state that some of the things I would like to see for Peachtree City are: a council that is committed to the excellent quality of life that we enjoy here; a city that has a good balance of residential, commercial, and industrial; a council that keeps their differences to themselves and works together for the greater good of the city; and a city where the taxpayers get the best value for each tax dollar.
Sarah Toussaint — I want to see council be as diverse as our city. We need a blend of men and women, young and old, a variety of ethnicities, from CEOs to factory workers to students. Our representatives should represent who we are. When people with different backgrounds and experiences come together and work toward a goal, they tend to come up with more innovative solutions than a group of like-minded people. I want to see our city overcome the issues it is facing, such as traffic, and anticipate future issues that might arise so we can take appropriate actions before things become problems. I see a financially secure city continuing to fund our excellent emergency services as they change with technological and forensic advancements. I see a happy, healthy, beautiful hometown community.
3. What is your vision for continuously improving life in Peachtree City?
Sarah Toussaint — If you have ever seen Foucault’s pendulum at a museum, you know you could watch it keep going forever. Because there is no perpetual motion without a driving force, museums use electromagnetic fields to keep their pendulums swinging. Continuous improvement is like that pendulum; it relies on people to keep it going. Improving means more than just maintaining, but I don’t see growing into a hustling, bustling city as an improvement. When I think of improving our city, I think of Chief (Janet) Moon and Chief (Joe) O’Conor who do excellent jobs seeking ways to advance their departments and stay among the best of the best. We need to train and equip our other departments to do the same. We need to elect council members who always ask how we can do things better. The best thing our council can do now to make continuous improvement possible is to ensure we are a financially stable, fiscally responsible city.
Kevin Madden — In my past roles as president of the Kiwanis Golden K Club and my coaching duties on our beautiful baseball and soccer fields as well as our inline hockey rink, I have had the benefit of experiencing firsthand the kindness and consideration of our fellow citizens, coaches and players. We are a special city with a superior school system, multi-purpose paths that connect us to our neighborhoods as well as our lakes, pools and myriad parks and recreation areas. It is our duty as caretakers of this unique place to protect the programs that will insure we remain this celebrated city.
First, we need to support the ESPLOST on Nov. 7 to continue to supply our Fayette County School System with the tools necessary to keep our superior state and national rankings. Next we need to make certain that our first responders remain the best qualified and equipped to keep us safe and our property secure. We must also maintain the exceptional recreational venues that have made Peachtree City the envy of our surrounding cities.
Peachtree City is a devout community committed to compassion. I see it every day in my ministries at Holy Trinity Church, and in the thrift stores that support the numerous charities that make us proud. It is in this fellowship that we will continue to improve our lives.
Harold Logsdon — Like every other city across Georgia, we face challenges. Preserving Peachtree City’s small-town charm while continuing to thrive is of major importance. In order to do this, we must continually address certain issues facing the city, especially re-development, which is critical to the continued improvement of Peachtree City. Our city is almost 60 years old, and some areas of the city are starting to show their age. We must find new ways to create incentives that will help facilitate re-development in many existing commercial and residential areas in our city. However, at the same time, we must make sure we attract the right industry to Peachtree City. Also, we must continually maintain our multi-use path network because it contributes so much to the quality of life in Peachtree City
4. What is your stand on the city’s future growth?
Harold Logsdon — If we are going to remain within the current boundaries of Peachtree City, re-development is critical. My vision for the city in the current boundary structure is a city that continually rebuilds itself and creates a balance of residential, commercial and industrial. However, if those boundaries change based on the desire of this community and the city leaders, and the change is a good fit for Peachtree City, my vision would continue to follow the same footprint that was used when Peachtree City was initially developed almost 60 years ago. I believe the village concept has served Peachtree City well. The only change that I would consider would be creating a city center.
The population of Georgia is projected to grow by 4.5 million people in less than 15 years and a significant portion of this growth will be centered in the metro Atlanta area. In Peachtree City, we need to make sure we are in a position to pick and choose the growth we want.
Sarah Toussaint — Peachtree City was designed to be a small community, and that is a large factor in the tight-knit feel we enjoy. We have empty commercial buildings, office spaces, and vacant lots that we need to fill to increase our commercial tax base and work toward restoring a good balance. The Gathering Place provides a good social environment for our seniors; we need to create a space that provides the same for our younger residents. Annexation could provide us with commercial land to even out our tax base, but it comes with huge risks. If we chose the wrong area to annex, then we could say goodbye to our cozy hometown in the future. Additional area also places a larger burden on our public services. We need to be careful not to make more mistakes in trying to correct past mistakes.
Kevin Madden — We cannot maintain our growth without additional revenues and we cannot spend what we don’t have. Therefore, we need to seek out new light manufacturing companies and corporations looking to relocate their headquarters to a distinctive city — a place with an educated work force, first-rate schools, outstanding infrastructure and a worthy local government amenable to their requirements.
In my air cargo career, I have travelled the world and met with numerous companies seeking a connection with our great nation. With our mayor and city council, I will use that knowledge to help attract the right kind of business.
5. As a voter, what is your political affiliation/persuasion?
Sarah Toussaint — I don’t vote straight party. I am Independent. Both of the main parties have qualities I like and qualities I don’t agree with. I look for candidates whose stances on the major issues of that race are similar to mine. Do they value human life, personal liberty, and moral responsibility? This is how I have always voted and will continue to vote.
Kevin Madden — As a voter in every election since 1972, it was and remains my responsibility to know the candidates and to try to comprehend their motivation for public service.
My candidates were and are moderates with a love of country and an understanding of our history. Those elected performed their duties with integrity, fiscal responsibility, and a firm grasp of the core American principles of “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
If candidates can follow Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to “dare mighty things”, and John Kennedy’s adage, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” and serve our citizens as Lincoln did “with malice towards none and charity for all” then they will have earned my vote.
Harold Logsdon — The population of Georgia is projected to grow by 4.5 million people in less than 15 years and a significant portion of this growth will be centered in the metro Atlanta area. In Peachtree City, we need to make sure we are in a position to pick and choose the growth we want.