NC: Following the closure of the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in 2009, many businesses on North Jefferson Street shuttered and residents pulled up roots. What specific plans do you have to revitalize the corridor so it can thrive again?
Terry: This is a major issue facing District 5. I would propose an exploration of options to revitalize this corridor of our city. Step 1 is to establish a committee consisting of District 5 citizens, government officials, city employees, realtors, business leaders, property owners and land developers that will develop a realistic plan to identify the needs, limitations and opportunities currently available that will bring commercial businesses back to this area. Step 2 will require a study of new and innovative ways to provide assistance to commercial businesses that will locate in the area. Step 3, the council should review and update ordinances and guidelines that hinder commercial development in existing buildings. Step 4 will require cooperative efforts from the city, its entities, business owners, realtors and developers to promote this area of the city. Together we can aggressively seek state, federal and private grant funding opportunities for the revitalization efforts.
NC: The Athens Historic Preservation Commission is tasked to ensure the integrity of the city’s historic districts remains intact. However, do you feel the commission could better serve the city by increasing its scope to include all historic structures within the city limits?
Terry: I respect the efforts of the Athens Historic Preservation Commission. Historic preservation of our homes and buildings safeguards our community's heritage and makes it available to future generations for civic enjoyment and learning opportunities.
We are fortunate to have several homes and buildings that have unique architectural character and designs that were built with quality craftsmanship. The city’s regulations should not be a burden for the historic property owners to invest in and develop their property. It should allow for flexibility that will enhance and preserve each project. Before any changes are considered, I would propose an in-depth meeting between the city and the historical property owners to discuss how to enhance the nature of preservation and provide manageable, reasonable and affordable guidelines. The desire and needs of the historic property owners would be the essential component to identify before considering any changes to the existing guidelines.
Any changes should enhance and support the primary reasons for historic preservation and allow for a cooperative effort between the city, the historical property owners and the Historic Preservation Commission.