This is to highlight just some of the critical differences between myself and my opponent in the race for Mayor of Peachtree City. Having secured more votes than any other Mayoral candidate in the general election, I am advancing to a runoff. The stark differences in my opponent and I will have a potentially huge impact on the future of Peachtree City.
Our differences center around two qualities: Relationships/communication, and issues of importance.
My Mayoral opponent and I worked well together on City Council for several years. He is a head down numbers cruncher who works best in isolation; I am a highly relational extrovert whose greatest skill is bringing the right people to the table and collaborating to solve problems.
My opponent is infamous for years of scrapping with then-Mayor Don Haddix on everything from economic development to employee pay. The pinnacle of the years-long embarrassment was my opponent publicly mocking Mayor Haddix while he placed the City Budget book over his own head (really). By contrast, I maintained my dignity throughout those tough years, earning a reputation as a voice of reason on Council.
Subsequent to our years serving Peachtree City, my opponent ran for Mayor and lost. Then he ran for County Commissioner and lost. Now he is running for Mayor again. Since I left Council in 2017 due to term limits, I have continued to serve in a community development capacity, first as a Vice President at West Georgia Technical College, then as Director of the Newnan Coweta LINC. In these roles I have continued to grow my personal and professional relationships with businesses, non-profits, and surrounding communities.
Now on to our differences regarding the issues facing Peachtree City. First and foremost, nothing is more important to Peachtree City than public safety. There is no doubt we all moved here to enjoy a safe community, and I share our citizens’ concerns about increased crime. I will fully fund our public safety staff, and work with Council to increase their pay. My opponent has a long and public history of demeaning our public safety staff with, “We don’t need to pay them what they would make in other cities.” This approach is deeply concerning and a surety if my opponent becomes Mayor.
I am running for Mayor because I am committed to preserving our Peachtree City quality of life. My opponent is running for Mayor because he wants to cut taxes. Where and how, he hasn’t enumerated. And the average Peachtree City tax bill in 2021 was $1131, or $94 per month. How many miles of cart path, how many library hours, which recreation programs are you willing to give up — and at what cost?
Regarding traffic solutions, I have positive, long-standing relationships with Fayette, Coweta, and Tyrone officials and we have already met to strategize a very necessary north side bypass around Peachtree City.
In researching the most recent Fayette County Comprehensive Transportation Plan, I discovered the 2019 summation document specifies that another east-west corridor is needed, and that these very entities must collaborate to move the project forward. My colleagues and I will start on Day One. In the short term, we need closed-loop signal timing at the traffic lights on 54 West, and, as spelled out in the POND traffic study, an additional westbound lane on 54 between 74 and the county line.
My opponent continues to claim that I brought about additional traffic woes with installation of a new light at Hwy 54 and Line Creek Drive. To correct this persistent untruth: GDOT required a traffic light on Hwy 54 at Line Creek Drive. The GDOT warrant document was dated March 12, 2015. Email me and I’ll share a copy.
Another priority issue of mine is attracting young families to Peachtree City. I have three children in their young thirties, all with children of their own, and although they love Peachtree City they don’t live here because they think “there is nothing to do.” It’s important to know that the current Council is planning to install sewer along Huddleston Road. I propose that while the project is underway, we should also construct golf cart path so we finally have safe access to the myriad of golf cart facilities along this corridor.
And while we’re at it, we should expand on the tremendous success of Line Creek Brewing Co. and plan improvements on the south end, like gas lamps, banners, public art, boutique retail, a food truck park, and small music pavilions. We have the opportunity to create a safe, walkable, golf cart-centric nightlife corridor. My opponent claims we have enough night life, citing IHOP, Green Ginger, and The Avenue.
Additionally, I fully support our village concept. I envision a Krog Street Market in the former Kmart location. Offering upscale dining and an indoor gathering space for meetings, this will support the growing work-from-home crowd and serve as a boost for Braelinn Village.
One of my top priorities as Mayor will be to assure that our recreational facilities are world class. I am a lifelong runner, and a former tennis player now turned pickleball player. I am committed to sports, fitness and recreation.
If I am Mayor, we are going to keep the tennis center, and highlight the many tournaments and other events that bring hundreds of players, coaches and families to Peachtree City, where they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. The tennis center is an economic driver. My opponent has argued that not enough Peachtree City residents are members to warrant keeping this facility. Recreation is nowhere to be found on his website.
I urge you to visit the Platform page of my website, where I have detailed plans for traffic improvement, attracting young families, supporting businesses, creating nightlife, protecting our greenspaces, and upgrading our recreational facilities. www.kimlearnardformayor.com/platform.html.
On record, I do not support any new apartments. I do not support the LCI Study that was done last year – if I’m Mayor it will not be revived. I do not support MARTA in Peachtree City for any reason. And I do not support a road connection between Huddleston and Planterra Way. (Golf carts yes, cars, no!)
Last week, City Council Member and Mayoral candidate Terry Ernst endorsed me for Mayor. So did current City Council Members Mike King and Phil Prebor. As Mayor I will hit the ground running, supported by an experienced and supportive Council. By contrast, my opponent would have zero support on City Council — and nobody can pass a budget or make city decisions alone. My opponent wants no pay for being Mayor, which means he would be accountable to no one.
Because municipal elections are nonpartisan, I dislike questions about political party. But I understand — we live in hyper-partisan times and the question keeps coming up.
As a moderate, a party does not define me, and I share values with both sides of the political spectrum. I am a staunch fiscal conservative and on record as a Republican voter. I believe in transparency in government. I believe in science. And I believe in respect for one another.
My campaign has been grassroots and community-driven. I have been warmly supported by hundreds of you from every background, walk of life, and corner of the city. As Mayor, I intend to be a positive and unifying leader.
An effective Mayor invests in relationships, communicates their vision, and works well with others. I am the only candidate that brings these skills to the table. Vote Kim Learnard on November 30 for a bright and better Peachtree City future.
Kim Learnard, Mayoral Candidate
Peachtree City, Ga.