Name: Wayne Harper
Occupation: Retired as Athens police chief
Education: Associate degree in criminal justice from Jefferson State Community College; bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montevallo
Political experience: None
Community involvement: Member of First Baptist Church of Athens, member of American Legion Post 49, Athens-Limestone United Way Board of Directors, Fraternal Order of Police, International Chiefs of Police Association, North Alabama Chiefs of Police Association, Athens-Limestone Triad-S.A.L.T. Council, FBI National Academy Associates-National and Alabama chapters and Athens Masonic Lodge 16.
Personal: Wife, Vonnette; children, Laurie, Len and Annette; 12 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren.
The News Courier: What is the biggest issue or issues facing District 5 and what specific plans do you have to address them?
Harper: The most frequent concern I have heard from District 5 residents has been the need for infrastructure improvements and preservation of our older neighborhoods. District 5 has some beautiful older neighborhoods that need to be protected and strengthened.
Residents are concerned with the number of rundown houses surrounded by junk and litter that are encroaching into neighborhoods. Many of these homes are vacant for extended periods with no improvements attempted.
I will work with neighborhood leaders, city inspectors and police code enforcement officers to monitor and clean up violations and cite repeat offenders.
There are a number of streets in District 5 that are in need of resurfacing. Potholes and poor drainage issues can quickly become a safety issue if not addressed. I will work with the council to see that resources are available to make needed upgrades and maintenance.
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?