Milledgeville Mayoral Candidates Speak Out | News
Richard Bentley and John Grant Jr. are both vying for the Milledgeville mayor's seat.
They agree on one thing.
"Job creation," Bentley said.
"We need jobs, said Grant.
The city has lost thousands of jobs over the past few years, as powerhouse companies like Shaw Industries shut down and moved out.
"It seems to be a little bit harder to get businesses to come here to help us to grow," Casie Bridges, a Milledgeville resident, said.
Bentley says he's focusing on innovation, like his plans to turn Shaw Industries' 92,000 square foot building into a "communiversity."
That will offer workforce development classes, a convention center, and even a 200-seat theater.
Bentley says the key is also keeping current industries in Milledgeville for the long haul.
"We want to pay attention to them and we want to make sure that we take care of them and that they remain here," Bentley said.
If re-elected, Bentley has a few things he wants to focus on.
"Attracting people here is certainly something that we're going to pursue, having renovated buildings at central state, and maybe working with the development authority," Bentley said.
Bentley's opponent, John Grant Jr., served as mayor from 1997 to 2001. He says installing water lines downtown during that time was crucial to the city's development.
"Upgrading the infrastructure was very important for the future of the colleges," Grant said.
Grant says this time around, he's focusing on surplus properties that aren't being developed.
"We have too much idle state land," Grant told us.
Grant says the city interferes too much with the economic development authority and that he plans to take a more hands-off approach.
"Back off and let them do their job," Grant said.