3 candidates run for Farmington mayor
Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn is running for re-election and faces challengers Diane Bryant and Jerrod Fraley.
Meet the candidates: Penn has been mayor since 2007 and was previously mayor from 1999 to 2002. He has served as a City Council member and a member of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, Central Emergency Medical Services, Arkansas Municipal League and Heartland Advanced Medical Manufacturing Regional Cluster.
Bryant is a retired school librarian. She's served on City Council since 2014 and was previously a Washington County justice of the peace. She's on the city's Chamber of Commerce and its Garden Club, the Friends of the Farmington Library, the Valley View Property Owners Association and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission's open spaces committee.
Fraley is self-employed, working in retail executive supply chain and visual merchandising. He's volunteered with the Farmington peewee football program and the city's sports program.
Axios: Why are you running for mayor and what is your main goal or priority?
Fraley: We need leadership that will listen and stand with the people. Farmington residents must face and resolve issues pertaining to the city, rather than push and avoid until the issues evolve into legal matters that embarrass our beautiful city.
- I want to give all of our citizens a voice and a right to be heard, from our senior residents to our children. I want to bring our community together to have one strong voice putting Farmington's future first.
Penn: I am seeking re-election because there are several major projects that need to be completed in our city that have been started in my term that I want to see to completion, such as the Highway 170 expansion road project, contract negotiations with the city of Fayetteville for our water and sewer services, trail expansion to connect to the Greenway from Creekside Park, to name a few.
- I am the most qualified based upon my 20-plus years of mayoral experience, education and my 42 years of banking background.
Axios: What can the city government do to add amenities and community services?
Bryant: I would like to improve the traffic flow along Highway 62 because it is a difficult situation with everyone trying to get to work on time with our stop-and-start streetlights. They need to be timed, and that will be my first priority.
- My second priority is to make Farmington a walkable city, and I will begin by getting the overgrown grass off the sidewalk along our Main Street.
- I would like to see us have a dog park; we have the land for [a] dog park, so I do not think the cost would be outrageous. I would also like to see us have a splash pad. This could be expensive, but there may be room in the budget to make it happen. I would also like to have a trail head on the Farmington side of Kessler Mt. so our residents could access the trail system without having to go the long way via Cato Springs Road.
- We need to work with ARDOT and the Washington Water Authority to solve the lawsuit and begin construction on the Highway 170 project.
- I vow to have a monthly newsletter for the people of Farmington. I vow to maintain financial stability, work with citizens and engineers to minimize flooding in Farmington.
- A long-range goal would be to have a paved trail from our Creekside Park Northwest to the Double Springs Area and then further west to Prairie Grove along Goose Creek.
Fraley: Once we have resolved issues involving developer negligence, we can look to add many community-driven projects. I would like to add a botanical garden and senior walk. I would like to add a community splash pad and begin development for the much anticipated aquatic park. I also feel a dog park would be greatly used, getting our pets the exercise they need and deserve, helping eliminate our high rate of runaway pets.
- Farmington residents deserve community events, and I will give Farmington the effort, enthusiasm and the energy it takes to bring us together.
Penn: I think that if we continue to manage our taxpayers' dollars appropriately and with proper planning, then we can continue to add new amenities and community services as needed as our city continues to grow.
Editor's note: Bryant gave a combined answer to both questions.
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