I would like to announce my candidacy for the office of mayor in the upcoming Boone municipal election in November.
As a business owner downtown for over 23 years and a resident for 17, I consider myself very fortunate to live and work in our downtown. I have been dismayed, and saddened, at the amount political division between our “politicians” and their inability to progress this community forward.
This is my second time running for the position, and now more than ever, I think it’s time…it’s time to bring in new blood, new faces, progressive thinking, and most importantly, progressive action.
The town of Boone’s UDO (Unified Development Ordinances) is incomplete after over five years of being written and refined. The UDO is supposed to be our community’s bible for growth, yet it remains incomplete and open for interpretation and litigation. For our community’s growth, we must adopt a conservation-minded, progressive agenda if we are to avoid urban sprawl, more traffic congestion and the monetary expenditures associated with both.
Our environmental impact on our area must be taken into account when planning our growth and writing out our UDO. There are a myriad of building options, techniques, products and systems that can be employed to maximize the utilization of our space while having a minimal impact on our resources.
For over 25 years, there has been no real push to increase Boone’s tax base. It’s time for our community to actively pursue and entice corporations and businesses that offer higher paying jobs to locate to our community. ECRS, a nationally recognized computer software and hardware manufacturer headquartered on Howard Street, is a prime example of the types of businesses we need to recruit. ECRS employs over 80 people, inserts millions of dollars into our local economy, is locally owned and recruits mostly ASU graduates.
There has been no follow through on handling the increased in-town traffic and no real direction in creating new neighborhoods, yet our single-family neighborhoods are vitally important to our community. We must also focus on creating more neighborhoods – sustainable neighborhoods.
By politically polarizing issues, we have divided our “parties” and have come to an impasse in making decisions that could lead to a more positive direction for our community. The Town of Boone, Watauga County and ASU, all working together, can create and ensure a shared and sustainable future for our growing communities.
Our elected officials’ jobs should be to ensure our community’s safety, promote a positive environment for families to live in, students to learn in, and businesses to grow in. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” We live in a remarkable community, filled with talented and educated people who share a deep appreciation for our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We have what it takes to make this a thriving, economically viable, sustainable environment for our families, students, seasonal residents and tourists.
Mena for Mayor
John J. Mena