The News Courier
Name: Brian K. Terry
Occupation: Design drafting teacher at Limestone Career Technical Center; design drafting dual enrollment teacher Calhoun Community College/Career Technical Center.
Education: John C. Calhoun Community College, design drafting technology; Athens State College, career technical education; University of North Alabama, municipal planning and zoning certification.
Previous political experience: City Council member, Athens Planning Commission, Alabama Association of Career Technical Education State Legislative Committee team leader, Limestone County Career Technical Association Political Action Committee and a previous member of the Alabama League of Municipalities Urban Economic Development Committee. Additionally, I have worked with Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments, the Resource Conservation and Development Council and our state and federal legislative members on educational issues and industrial projects that have benefited our community.
Community involvement: SkillsUSA student advisor, FIRST Robotics Team mentor, member of the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, member of the National Trust of Historic Preservation, treasurer of Limestone County Education Association, coached Dixie Youth baseball and softball, work with the Athens-Limestone Homebuilder’s Association and The News Courier on the annual Parade of Homes publication, providing drawings for the future expansion of the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, worked with the Athens Lions Club in providing drawings for buildings/improvements at the Kiddie Carnival, volunteer with Hospice of Limestone County for the annual Chili Challenge and Camp Hope, , serve on the Calhoun Community College Design Drafting Advisory Council and have served on numerous local, state and federal educational committees. Recipient of the Limestone County Historical Society’s Donald Isom Preservation Award, Limestone County School System’s Teacher of the Year, SkillsUSA’s Advisor of the Year and the Dekko Foundation’s Teacher of Excellence Award.
Personal: Wife, Michelle Latimer Terry; two children, Tyler and Lauren, both graduates of Athens High School.
The News Courier: What is the biggest issue or issues facing District 5 and what specific plans do you have to address them?
Terry: Having an understanding of the citizens’ input from the campaign trail, I can identify three major issues of District 5: Improvements to the existing infrastructure, enforcement of the city’s litter and weed ordinance and the departure of commercial businesses. Due to an unstable economy, seeking funding for these projects may be challenging, but with dedication and persistence can be accomplished. Re-paving streets, repairing/expanding sidewalks and correcting drainage problems are annual projects that need to be prioritized in a one-, three-, five- and 10-year plan. Some of the infrastructure needs have been addressed in recent months, but the district will need a representative who will continually seek the funding and resources to address these issues. The enforcement procedures and a simplified enforcement schedule of the city’s litter and weed ordinance should be explored. Weeds, litter and debris are an eyesore and can lead to public health and safety hazards. Together we will seek innovative ways to bring commercial business development back to this district. I pledge to work with the district’s citizens, business leaders, property owners, city departments, the mayor and the council to insure that these issues are not forgotten and receive adequate and fair attention.
NC: Following the closure of the Pilgrim’s Pride plant in 2009, many businesses on North Jefferson Street shuttered and residents pulled up roots. What specific plans do you have to revitalize the corridor so it can thrive again?
Terry: This is a major issue facing District 5. I would propose an exploration of options to revitalize this corridor of our city. Step 1 is to establish a committee consisting of District 5 citizens, government officials, city employees, realtors, business leaders, property owners and land developers that will develop a realistic plan to identify the needs, limitations and opportunities currently available that will bring commercial businesses back to this area. Step 2 will require a study of new and innovative ways to provide assistance to commercial businesses that will locate in the area. Step 3, the council should review and update ordinances and guidelines that hinder commercial development in existing buildings. Step 4 will require cooperative efforts from the city, its entities, business owners, realtors and developers to promote this area of the city. Together we can aggressively seek state, federal and private grant funding opportunities for the revitalization efforts.
NC: The Athens Historic Preservation Commission is tasked to ensure the integrity of the city’s historic districts remains intact. However, do you feel the commission could better serve the city by increasing its scope to include all historic structures within the city limits?
Terry: I respect the efforts of the Athens Historic Preservation Commission. Historic preservation of our homes and buildings safeguards our community's heritage and makes it available to future generations for civic enjoyment and learning opportunities.
We are fortunate to have several homes and buildings that have unique architectural character and designs that were built with quality craftsmanship. The city’s regulations should not be a burden for the historic property owners to invest in and develop their property. It should allow for flexibility that will enhance and preserve each project. Before any changes are considered, I would propose an in-depth meeting between the city and the historical property owners to discuss how to enhance the nature of preservation and provide manageable, reasonable and affordable guidelines. The desire and needs of the historic property owners would be the essential component to identify before considering any changes to the existing guidelines.
Any changes should enhance and support the primary reasons for historic preservation and allow for a cooperative effort between the city, the historical property owners and the Historic Preservation Commission.