Stewart seeks another Opp term

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oren Stewart has announced he will seek reelection to the District 5 seat on the Opp City Council in this summer’s municipal election.

Stewart said he is pleased with the progress he and other members of the current administration, along with the people of Opp, have made, citing the success of the Rattles-nake Rodeo as an example of what the city can accomplish when citizens come together working toward a common goal.

“When the city took ownership of the Rattlesnake Rodeo, we set a goal for continued growth of this historic event to provide an even better family experience and bring in more valuable tourist dollars to our city,” he said. “We’ve certainly done that, and it couldn’t succeed without the contributions of the over 100 volunteers each year that have selflessly given their time and efforts to make it the success it has become. It’s a prime example of what we can do when we work together under strong leadership with a shared vision.”

He said that the city council has accomplished many of the goals they set when he took office, but that there is much more to be done.

“We have completed the downtown revitalization project on east and west Covington Avenue, and Main Street to the city hall. I am so proud of the way our downtown area is looking after the completion of this phase of the project. The next phase will be to extend this effort further north to Stewart Avenue,” he said “Another downtown project will be renovation of the railroad depot. The depot has so much character and history, and is a focal point for the downtown area and will serve as a center for downtown activities.”

He also explained that the council has upgraded the utility system with new digital TV and HD technology, and with high speed Internet service that is faster and more reliable.

“Each of these modernization projects is important for a number of reasons, one of which is to attract new citizens to help grow the population of the city,” he said. “People want to live in communities that are safe and modern. We’ve already built a safe community in Opp; we need to continue modernizing the city’s infrastructure and landscape to complement that feature.” He said he is very proud of the new look of the downtown streets as he drives through the city.

Stewart said another priority is job growth, and the current administration has worked diligently to attract new industry to the city with the development of the infrastructure of the bypass as the focal point of those efforts.

“We’ve built two spec buildings on the bypass, one of which is the home to Custom Collars, a great success story of an upstart company that is growing and will likely add more jobs in the future,” he said. “The second spec building continues to attract the interest of prospective industries and we expect it to house a new company in the near future. We’ve also expanded water and sewer utilities along the bypass for business and industrial development. This is a necessity to attract new and expanding businesses,” he explained.

“When the city lost the sewing and cotton mill industry, we suffered in terms of jobs and population. Our current strategy is to continue efforts to attract large organizations, but more importantly to build an infrastructure based on industrial diversification.” He said the council is in the process of developing additional business plots suited to the needs of small to medium-sized industries.

“Small business drives the economy more today than it ever has. By developing an infrastructure that is suited to a large number of these types of industries and seeking to provide solutions to those industries, we can take a large step toward bringing more new jobs to Opp,” he said. “A more diverse industrial landscape will be more stable and provide many more opportunities for solid growth. It just makes sense to apply our efforts in those directions rather than put all of our eggs into one basket, so to speak.”

Stewart said he is excited to have been a part of these important projects to improve the community. “I want to continue serving on the city council to improve our quality of life and develop new opportunities for job growth.”