BY Ian Boyd
ROSWELL, Ga. – The new mayor gave her first state of the city speech to the Kiwanis Club on Saturday at the Mill restaurant in the Roswell Square Park.
Mayor Lori Henry says the next four years of her term will consist of partnerships, community, transparency, and communication.
“We are a collaborative community,” says Henry. “We all work together and strive for transparency.”
This is Henry’s first state of the city address as mayor. Her predecessor, Jere Wood, served as mayor of Roswell for 20 years, and Henry’s speech was optimistic for a new future with more public access to government.
Henry’s effort toward transparency includes the City of Roswell Education and Engagement (CORE) community program. CORE community program is a free eight-week session which gives Roswell citizens an opportunity to see how different government departments function.
“What CORE does is give you the inside, behind the scene look at how city hall functions,” says Henry. She hopes it will encourage citizens to run for office and participate more in local government.
The budget staff for the city is performing surveys to determine what citizens think the government should spend money on as part of the initiative to communicate with the public, says Henry. She says this is the first time the budget staff has reached out to the community.
In keeping with her theme of communication, Henry updated the Kiwanis club members on the status of the new developments for the city. Henry says the Southern Skillet property, which is named after an old restaurant which used to occupy the land, is being looked at by a couple of different potential investors.
A distillery, a small grocer, offices and condominiums may be developed in the property, according to Henry.
Some of the recent acquisitions made by the city also included Mimosa Hall. Mimosa Hall is one of the white, wood-paneled, historic houses the city of Roswell is famous for having. Henry says there are plans being made to open the house and its garden open to the public.
The city recently acquired a plot of land called the Seven Branches property, which will be developed into a hiking trail in order to preserve the green space, Henry says. There’s also plans to develop walking and recreation areas on the backside of Canton Street, the popular strip of restaurants and boutiques. This plan, called the East Alley Project, would give the folks strolling down Canton Street more room to spread out.
Henry says yet another hiking trail, the Old Mill Park, will begin its phase three developments. These developments will expand the hiking trail inside the park. She says this park is a huge regional pull for bringing in tourists and visitors to the city of Roswell.
Henry took questions from the Kiwanis club members. The questions mostly related to the specifics of the developments and Ohio football.
Gay Maloney is a member of the Kiwanis club at the Mayor’s state of the city address. “The park area was a good investment,” says Maloney. She says developing the Seven Branches into a green space makes her optimistic about Henry in her new role as Mayor. “Absolutely. I love to have more green spaces in town.”
Henry closed out the meeting with an optimistic view of the future. “My pledge to you, as I said before, is communication, transparency and partnerships,” says Henry. “When we are working together, we can do a lot of great things in the city of Roswell.”