Mayor Dan

Athens Mayor Dan Williams says he will seek re-election to a sixth consecutive term in office in the 2008 municipal election.

Athens Mayor Dan Williams has held city office 23 consecutive years and says he has enjoyed every day of it.

And, yes, he plans to run for re-election next year.

“I’ve been in public service 28 years and I do plan to run again,” the mayor said Friday. “It’s been fun.”

Williams served five years on the Athens Board of Education from 1979 to 1984.

At age 64, he said he’s on a weight loss program and he feels great to make a run at another four-year term.

“I enjoy it,” he said of being mayor. “I’m a lot busier than when I first started. We have a lot of problems, but most are growth problems and that is a good problem. We want to continue to grow.”

Williams said he believes Athens, which has 38 square miles of property which is more than Tuscaloosa and Madison, will continue to grow at a rate of two to three percent a year and within the next 10 years will have a population of well over 25,000.

“With BRAC and all that’s coming, we are going to steadily grow, not only to the east and south, but to the west as well. Huntsville and its biotech field will continue to come our way.

“More residents will spur commercial development ,” Williams said. “With that many square miles in our city, they tell me Athens could hold 100,000 people. They say 70 percent of our land is undeveloped.”

The mayor said when first took office as an Athens city councilman in 1984, Athens had approximately 15,000 people. Since then, he served two terms on the council and was elected mayor in 1992. Today, Athens has a population of well over 20,000.

“We have 1,000 lots being developed now and if we keep growing like this, I see us being a lot like Madison — a sleepy little town that grew into a big city almost over night. We don’t know how much we will benefit from BRAC, but it has great potential.”

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