Voters in the city’s new growth district will be going to the polls Tuesday to settle who will represent them on the City Council.
Coy Bramlett and Blake Edwards claimed the most voters — but not a majority — in a four-way race to fill the seat being vacated by Council President James Barnhart in District 5.
Edwards got 43.5 percent of the vote in the Aug. 28 election, and Bramlett got 36.6 percent.
The polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. The polling places are at Harlan School and Forest Hills School.
Bramlett, who is retired from a furniture manufacturing and sales company, and Edwards, who is primary owner of Hospice of the Tennessee Valley, have been attending City Council meetings for several months. They’ve witnessed some heated meetings related to the now-closed sanitary landfill and other issues.
Both candidates said they would bring a spirit of cooperation to the council if elected.
“I want to get along with the City Council, but I won’t rubber stamp all decisions,” Bramlett said. “I will be my own man and make decisions based on what’s good for the city and for the district.”
Bramlett said he also would work closely with Mayor-elect Mickey Haddock. “The mayor is the manager of the city. I want to support his programs if they are good for the city.”
Edwards also said he wants to bring a spirit of cordiality to the council without sacrificing open debate.
“We should work out problems in a way that is not hostile,” he said. “There should not have to be a lot of bickering. When you have different opinions and ideas, you should agree to disagree.
“If someone shows me why one of my ideas won’t work, that’s fine, but they should be prepared for the same,” he said. “We should show some respect for each other, move on, and do what’s best for the city.”
District 5 encompasses much of the northern and northwestern areas of the city, where residential and retail growth is occurring.
The City Council and the Planning Commission have approved construction of a new Wal-Mart store on Cloverdale Road near Cox Creek Parkway that is certain to attract more retail development.
“With Wal-Mart expecting up to 9,000 more cars a day, there will be congestion,” Bramlett said. “I want to see safety as the number one concern for the district, traffic lights where they are needed.”
Bramlett was spokesman for a citizens group that opposed Wal-Mart’s new store, stating concerns for traffic problems and reduction of residential property values.
Edwards said the new Wal-Mart will act as a magnet for new retail growth, and the city must be prepared for that.
“It’s important that, as the area grows, the city stays on top of it,” he said. “The city master plan has been for growth out this way. That’s why Cloverdale Road was four-laned years ago. We have to stay ahead of the growth with our planning.”
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.