The newsmaker for south Fulton is District 7 Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards.
Many residents in College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Palmetto and Union City know Edwards through his face-to-face listening sessions.
The sessions, held quarterly throughout the year, allow residents to voice questions and concerns directly to Edwards and are usually packed with citizens ready to let their voices be heard.
In 2013, issues like safety and renovations throughout south Fulton were major concerns.
“Much of what I tried to accomplish throughout the year was improving quality of life for south Fulton residents. Conducting renovations to and re-opening the South Fulton Tennis Center as well as working extensively to improve Welcome All Park are examples of this,” Edwards said.
He also said that increased interest from entertainment organizations was a highlight of the year for him.
“Opening the world to south Fulton by bringing the TomorrowWorld festival to the United States for the first time was one of my favorite events I participated in,” Edwards said.
The festival, which drew about 100,000 people to the county, is considered one of the world’s biggest and most popular electronic music concerts.
The county’s reception of new, state-of-the-art crime-fighting equipment was also a priority for Edwards.
In September, Fulton County Police received T3 Patrollers, new helicopter infrared systems and other vehicles largely to help combat crime around the Old National Highway area of the county.
“The purchase of the 23 new vehicles will continue to be a big help in dealing with crime and safety issues, so I’m particularly happy the county was able to obtain them,” Edwards said.
The county also purchased new fire engines and hired additional police officers and firefighters throughout the year.
While safety was a top concern for Edwards this year, he said getting south Fulton youth involved in various programs was not only a major goal but also an issue he felt very strongly about.
The Teen Determined Active Dedicated Supportive program, which was created by Edwards in 2009 and serves to educate and assist young dads with career counseling and parental classes, received a $25,000 grant from the state.
“All youth initiatives, including the Youth Leadership Academy and Youth Commissioners, matter because making successful students in turn creates successful citizens,” Edwards said.
For 2014, Edwards said he wants to continue to “make news” by continuing to work on improving south Fulton as a whole.
“I want to enhance infrastructure and will do so through completing projects like the South Fulton Miracle Field. I also want to ensure that unincorporated south Fulton remains economically stable,” he said.
Edwards also said he is excited to see what newly elected city officials will “bring to the table in the new year.”
“Welcoming new elected leaders that are committed to our county will help us make even more positive news in 2014,” he said.