Griffin seeking 2nd council term

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hazel Griffin has announced her plans to seek reelection to District Three on the Andalusia City Council.

Griffin said she ran for office in 2008 because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of Andalusians.

“Since 2008, I have worked hard to live up to that pledge,” she said.

Early on, she said, the current administration developed a list of priorities.

“My No. 1 priority was River Falls Street,’ she said. “This venerable, old street runs through the heart of my district. It had been ignored and neglected since the AlaTex closed, and I heard from many of my constituents who felt as though the city had forgotten them.”

Once the council agreed to the project, she said, the hard work began.

“In the end, we cobbled together a plan that included both the state and federal highway departments for more than $1.5 million in grants for the project,” she said. “We issued general obligation municipal bonds for the balance of the cost that we’ll pay back over the life of the street.”

Utility and city personnel also contributed time, she said, which helped bring the project in on time and under budget.

“Not long after taking office, we learned that we could acquire the old AlaTex plant site which also lay in the heart of the district that I represent,” she said. “I believed that if we were ever going to turn the neighborhood around that we’d have to obtain that property and clean it up,.

“By that time, we were beginning to feel confident that we’d be able to complete River Falls Street. I knew that getting control of the AlaTex and refurbishing River Falls Street were two projects that would have a dramatic impact on District Three.”

Today, there is a manufacturing business in what once was the AlaTex, and the city is in the process of refurbishing the former headquarters in partnership with the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Now, this once proud street is on the rebound,” she said. “We’ve already begun to see private businesses follow our lead and reinvest in their physical appearances.”

Griffin also cited the city’s development of the Church Street Cultural Arts Centre in partnership with the Andalusia Ballet and the renovation of Johnson Park as accomplishments.

“While campaigning in 2008, I pledged to bring accountability to city government,” she said. “My husband and I operated a family business in Andalusia for 25 years and I know what it takes to deliver services and products to customers, make a payroll and keep the bills paid. I said that I’d bring the same common sense that it takes to run a successful family business to the operation of city government.

“During this term, we have not only improved our financial management practices, but also have improved personnel efficiency and in the process raised morale,” she said. “We have launched an unprecedented number of public and economic development projects that have already begun to pay dividends.”

If reelected, she said she would like to see the city focus on South Three Notch Street, which “needs an overhaul.”

“We completed a sidewalk and resurfacing project on South Three Notch Street from the square through the railroad crossing, but the balance of the street badly needs attention,” she said. “Our hospital and other health-related businesses and other small businesses and residences have invested heavily on and around South Three Notch Street during the last four years. Our making it a priority will generate even more growth and development.”

Griffin said she takes her responsibilities seriously, and will be responsive to the needs of her constituents if reelected.

“It is too late for my children and grandchildren to return to Andalusia to find work and raise their families,” she said. “For far too long, we have done nothing but maintain, living off the work of past generations. Now, ti is our duty to work tirelessly today to insure that our young people will have opportunities to come back home to raise their families.”