By Billy Corriher
Mayor Joy Day has been leading the Jonesboro City Council for eight years, but she is still as enthusiastic about Jonesboro as she ever was.
"There's a lot of exciting things that are going to be happening in this city," she said.
Day, 15-year council member Cliff Sewell, and new members Linda Wenz and Donna Meadows will address the city's Livable Centers Initiative and revise its land use plan this year.
Day said that with the growth the city has experienced in the last 10 or 15 years, planning is crucial to maintaining the city's quality of life.
"I think we need to take a long, hard look at our land use plan," she said. "We want growth, but we want quality growth."
The city's LCI plan, which has been approved by the city council but could be revised, seeks to revitalize the entire downtown area, with new parking decks and more retailers, all centered around a commuter rail station at the old depot.
"I hope that our downtown becomes an area that people want to come back to," she said. "Right now, we don't have a core meeting place for our citizens."
The plan for a commuter rail station hinges on Gov. Sonny Perdue's approval of a Department of Transportation plan for a rail line from Lovejoy to Atlanta, with stops in Jonesboro, Forest Park and Morrow.
Day said that even if the rail line is not approved, the city can still move forward with improving downtown.
"But I certainly think the commuter rail will enhance what we're doing downtown," she said.
Day said her other top priorities for the coming term remain maintaining services for residents, keeping the city's "small town atmosphere" and reducing crime in the city.
The additional sidewalks and green spaces called for in the LCI will contribute to Jonesboro's "small town atmosphere," she said.
Day said that, as the city revises its land use plan, she also wants to make sure new developments contribute to the city's aesthetics.
"For me, aesthetics is important," she said. "If a place isn't attractive, people don't want to go there."