State of the Town Address: Dial says revitalized downtown is top issue

Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial. File photo.
Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial. File photo.

The Jan. 17 meeting of the Tyrone Town Council was the setting for the 2019 State of the Town address by Mayor Eric Dial, who covered significant ground in reviewing the past year and looking ahead through 2019.

“In the comprehensive plan, the people spoke loud and clear and charged us with the task of revitalizing downtown,” said Dial, turning to another topic. “We are committed to answering this call. We are focusing on land use, sewer and the enhancement of critical properties. We have purchased the old fire station from the county. Tonight, we will take the first step in the purchase of more than three acres across the street from Shamrock Park. Our plan is to make this property the new home of our municipal complex.”

Dial stressed that the town is fully committed to the downtown area.

“We will invest in its beauty and effectiveness, and we trust that its property owners will do the same. We will soon be forming a stakeholders’ committee made up of business owners, downtown property owners and staff to address some of our needs. After all, who better to determine its future than those who have already invested in it?” Dial asked.

Looking into the development future, Dial said the town entertains new and proposed economic development on a regular basis, “And we are cognizant of the gravity of the decisions we make and the impact they will have on this town’s future.”

Addressing other aspects of the town during 2018, Dial thanked voters for the passage of the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) which will enable the town to complete important, long-needed infrastructure projects. A sampling of those projects include stormwater improvements, road resurfacing, golf cart paths, the Tyrone Road right hand turn lane and park improvements.

“It is, by all accounts, an exciting time to live and lead in the Town of Tyrone,” said Dial. “Viewing it in the rearview mirror, it is as if we have been working for years to prepare ourselves for 2019. We have managed your tax dollars carefully. We’ve been careful about tackling too many large projects. We’ve renewed our comprehensive plan. We’ve spent countless hours planning the future of the Ga. Highway 74 corridor. And, we’ve made acquisitions that give us the flexibility to determine the future of downtown.”

Dial turned his comments to the police department. Citing several highlights from 2018, Dial said Tyrone was listed by one independent publication as having the 3rd lowest major crime rate in Georgia among cities with a population of 5,000 or more, and ranked by another as the 7th safest city in Georgia.

Citing other examples, Dial said the police department in 2018 completed its first, and very successful, Citizen Police Academy, upgraded the department’s body cameras and purchased a new SMART trailer and license plate readers.

“And finally, we achieved our state certification, something that only 28 percent of Georgia law enforcement agencies have done,” said Dial. “This process took years to realize and we applaud Officer Cayla Banks for this accomplishment.”

Continuing his comments, Dial recalled the recent transition of former Chief Brandon Perkins to serve as town manager.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Brandon’s management experience, wisdom and character now leading our staff. But he couldn’t be in two places at one time, so this left a void at the police department,” Dial said. “Brandon promised his officers and the council that he would identify someone who could take the department to the next level. We were pleased with our finalists and ultimately believe we have selected someone who will do exactly what Brandon promised. We have chosen Randy Mundy as our new police chief and we are confident that he, too, is a man who will duplicate the good leadership he has shown throughout his career. And he possesses a love for this town that will make him the perfect fit.”

Turning his comments to town employees as a group, Dial said, “I believe Tyrone is second to none in the quality of our people. We have truly been blessed beyond measure. Please know that we are grateful for each and every one of you.”