Those seeking the office include Sparkle Adams, a member of council since 2005 and the city’s interim mayor, Dabouze Antoine, 33, a special education teacher with Clayton County Public Schools, John Finch, 55, an employee of the Army-Air Force Exchange Service and David Lockhart, 37, an attorney.
According to Forest Park City Manager John Parker, among the projects the city’s new chief executive will face include moving forward with the second phase of the Living Centers Initiative program, the continued redevelopment of the Main Street corridor and the possibility of starting a public transportation service within the city plus other initiatives.
The candidates were asked what they saw as the most important issue facing the new mayor and how they would meet those challenges.
Adams: “We need someone who is experienced with meeting issues of the city and I offer that experience to our citizens. I have vigorously continued to be heavily involved in the Fort Gillen Redevelopment Program, the Main Street LCI project while continuing to represent the city to the best of my ability as part of the Clayton County Municipal Association and the Neighborhood Watch Program”
Antoine: “The biggest issue we face is restoring confidence in our city government. I plan to work hard at making sure we operate in a transparent manner. I want to establish a government cable system, establish more committees for public input and take time to seek the opinions of our residents instead of rushing to make decisions without them.”
Finch: “The greatest challenge the mayor will face is bringing what is important back together again, namely our people, opportunity and respect. I will work to reintroduce our police department to our citizens, to see that our city council realigns itself with the citizens it serves and be more proactive in putting jobs in the hands of qualified city residents.”
Lockhart: “Among the issues on which I will focus is the general blight of the city. The deterioration is seen in empty store fronts, vacant houses and graffiti, all of which has affected our quality of life and our property values. I will work to ensure steps be taken to help our city do not simply saddle us with higher taxes.”