Troutman Council Candidate Profile: Sally Williams
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Sally Williams has only served one term on Troutman Town Council, but the Troutman native is proud of the accomplishments that she and fellow council members achieved during her tenure, especially those at ESC Park, a project close to her heart.
“We got the pavilion built, put in the Fitness Trail, and opened the dog park. We also opened the soccer fields after I came on board. Hopefully, I will still be on the council to see the second phase completed,” said Williams, who serves as council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee.
As a 31-year teaching veteran in physical education, Williams is passionate about getting folks out to play and get fit at the park. “I taught PE in elementary school and coached basketball and volleyball in middle school,” she said.
Williams first started serving Troutman as a member of the Parks and Rec Committee after a parent got her interested in the park’s construction.
After retiring in 2010 from teaching and coaching, she finally had the time to run for Town Council, which had been her goal for some time. “I started going to the board meetings and thought - now’s the time to do it!”
SKILLS AND ASSETS
Williams was born and raised in Troutman, which gives her a unique perspective. “There are not a lot of longtime Troutman residents left, so I think that has helped somewhat. I can also easily talk to anyone, and I’m open to listening to anyone.”
Williams believes that she has developed the understanding and experience to serve Troutman residents well.
“Coming into this and not knowing fully how government worked, I knew it would take me several years to start comprehending what was going on,” she said. “Now I want to see the things that I was involved in get to completion. Government doesn’t work as quickly as people think it should work. It takes time."
Williams is pleased to see Richardson Greenway continuing to expand. “We are finishing up two new sections of the greenway and recently got grants for the south end, so I’m happy to see that happen.” Council members will have to budget matching funds over the next few years to fully fund the southern greenway extension.
Williams also is excited about Karen Godley building a 310,000-square-foot warehouse that will draw more industry to Troutman. “I’d also like to see the town gradually acquire some land and put in the infrastructure and utilities to have things prepped and ready for a small industrial park.”
“I don’t want us to become what some call a 'bedroom community' for other towns such as Mooresville and Charlotte,” added Williams. “I would like to see both light and heavy industrial development here.”
Williams hopes Larkin Industrial Park at Exit 45 will bring more industrial growth but worries that no specific companies were named as locating in the development. “I have a feeling that’s going to be a long time down the road.”
One challenge Williams says that the council faces is to “keep the small town feel but develop a more distinguished downtown. We want growth, but we’ve got to be compassionate about what the growth is going to be so we don’t become a Highway 150 in Mooresville.”
“I would like to see the traffic situation improved,” said Williamson. “We have a traffic study approved, and I like it, even though I am going to be really impacted by it since my street (Eastway Drive) will be the northbound lanes.”
In summer, the traffic is a little lighter, but “when school is in or when there’s an accident on the interstate and they use Highway 21 to bypass, it causes a lot of the traffic. I want us to continually become more bike- and pedestrian-friendly in the downtown area.”
Troutman has several empty buildings and storefronts that residents would like to see filled. “The Town Council cannot go out on their own and try to get companies to come into those buildings, but we are part of an economic development system that has someone to do that for us as well as other towns too. I hope they will help us fill those buildings for a long time.”
Williams believes that Russ Rogerson, Executive Director of The Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corporation and Statesville Regional Development, “will help us move forward in the future.”
“People who have jobs in Charlotte are coming here to live because Iredell County and Troutman’s tax rate is cheaper than Charlotte-Meckenburg,” said Williams, but many of the residential developments are closer to the non-contiguous areas of Troutman near Exit 42. “I don’t think the downtown area will be as impacted by those homes.”
Williams also wants to focus on downtown improvements to enhance Troutman “quaintness.”
“I’d like to see out store fronts be spruced up a little bit,” citing Davidson’s business district as a model. The town council put aside some money for which businesses can apply for help with facade renovation.
“We can be just as competitive in retail as other places. That’s where Exit 42 will come in to help with that,” said Williams.