Jul 28, 2014
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Q&A With Greg Coleson, Decatur Commission Candidate, Part 1

The independent software consultant wants to see Decatur maintain the quality of the school system and develop more means of alternative transportation. His opponent, Scott Drake, will answer questions on Patch Tuesday.

Q&A With Greg Coleson, Decatur Commission Candidate, Part 1

in the March 19 election for the Decatur City Commission seat representing District 1. He grew up in East Point and Fayette County and attended Woodward Academy, the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. He and his wife, Nicole, started the Decatur Farmers Market. The independent software consultant lives with his wife and daughter on Wilton Drive. For more information about Coleson, visit his campaign webpage.

The other candidate, Scott Drake, will answer questions Tuesday on Patch. Their answers to other questions will appear on following days. Answers have been edited for length.

Why are you running?

I love Decatur, great city. My wife and I spent a lot of time looking around for a place to live when we decided we were going to settle down and have children and we did a lot of research and we purposely decided on Decatur. I really want to try to make it even better.

Because I’m on the sustainability board with the city I’ve been exposed to a lot of things on the inside. The city does an amazing job. They have a great strategic plan and I think it’s all about priorities. The plan has pretty much all the things the city needs to do but it’s a matter of how you’d like to prioritize things.

What questions do you have for the candidates? Tell us in the comments box below.

I have some things I clearly have an interest in and they’re more green-related type things. I started the farmers market, I’m on the sustainability board, and I like things that create community and community spaces. I think I could a do a good job of having those priorities and a vision for the city and moving those things forward.

Do you favor the annexation the city commission recently proposed and do you think it has a chance of success?

The commission proposed a couple of options and the one I favor most is the commercial option, where it’s a little more on the revenue neutral or possibly the revenue positive side.

I think that would be a great way for the city to have, in the first place, potentially more revenue or maybe not, you have to look at the exact numbers. Secondly, it would be a very good way for the city to have more zoning control over those particular commercial areas, things like the Walmart and Suburban Plaza areas, maybe having a little bit more control over what businesses were in a particular area and having more control over the look and feel of the way the places were developed. So I’d say I’d definitely be in favor of trying to move the annexation forward.

Do you think it has a chance?

I feel like it’s going to be a hard sell. I don’t think the DeKalb delegation is too behind that and I don’t think the commissioners in DeKalb are interested in seeing it happen. I feel like the commissioners probably privately think Decatur could do a better job developing and controlling those commercial areas.

I used to live in Medlock, which is right across from Suburban Plaza, and I know a lot of people there, and we thought that Suburban Plaza was quite an eyesore for many, many years. … I think people in those neighborhoods would certainly enjoy the fact that potentially Decatur could give them a Decatur-type feel.

What’s the biggest challenge facing Decatur?

It seems to be our increasing school age population. I think we’re definitely having a big population bubble of children coming into the city and our school system is going to be burdened under that. Our school system is amazing and my daughter goes to it.

I think we’d like to maintain the quality of the school system and make it better. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges facing Decatur, ... that potentially if you have more students you’ll need more revenue, where do you get revenue from, and do you increase taxes. There are a lot of complex issues related there.

I really think Decatur needs to focus a bit more on alternative transportation, like say more on bikes lanes and maybe some greenways and some connection to the beltline, which is an amazing project the City of Atlanta is doing. … I think the city could benefit from some more infrastructure related to that.

Other stories on the special election.

Bill Floyd resigns Decatur City Commission seat.

Decatur Commission sets special election  for March 19.

Q&A with Greg Coleson, Decatur City Commission candidate, Part 1.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!