June 28, 2012
Town Council members to be sworn in
By Malissa Watterson
CHINCOTEAGUE -- Three newly elected Town Council members will take office on July 1.
Arthur Leonard, Gene Taylor and incumbent John N. Jester begin their four-year terms with the local government office. Jester will serve his second term on the council.
Voters selected Leonard (615 votes), Taylor (543) and Jester (453) at the polls in early May.
"I want to keep open communication with the county and the wildlife refuge so we can work on some major problems," said Taylor about his future plans as a council member.
The major problem is especially deciding on an alternative solution to restore and protect beach parking on Assateague Island, he says.
Taylor also wants to support local businesses during his term.
"I want to keep (business) restrictions to a minimum and entice people to come to Chincoteague," Taylor said.
Jester's approach to the parking issue is continuos communication with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and requesting that the federal agency "take more measures to mitigate damages to the beach."
During his first term, Jester served as the chairman to the recreation and community enhancement committee, a group that is working toward improving the look of downtown.
The committee is involved with multiple phases of a downtown revitalization project, which includes laying down brick pavers on the east side of Main Street.
"We want to keep downtown a vibrant place that draws people to the downtown area," Jester said.
This term Jester wants to continue work with the committee, as well as help improve local parks by properly maintaining equipment and working with groups who sponsor park programs like the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance.
As a first-time council member, Leonard hopes to be a "helping hand" with future town projects.
Those projects include increasing the number of youth-centered programs at the town community center and working to improve town parks. Leonard also wants to further increase the number of bike paths on the island.
"More and more people are riding bikes and these roads weren't built for bikes," he said.
For more information on the Town Council, contact the town office at 757-336-3155.
Reprinted with permission of Chincoteague Beacon.