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Tramell expects ‘tremendous growth’ in West Point in 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a four-part series looking at the new year through the eyes of area mayors.

After a year of gains for the City of West Point in 2017, Mayor Steve Tramell believes the city will continue to see growth in the new year.

“I’m very excited about the potential for growth we have here in West Point and what’s going to happen this year and over the next few years,” Tramell said. “I think we’re going to see tremendous growth like we haven’t seen in decades in West Point. We’re poised for tremendous growth.”

The mayor said he was satisfied of the many accomplishments of the city last year including being designated as one of three live, work, play small communities by the Georgia Municipal Association.

“Only one of three cities in the state to be designated that way, so I was really proud of that that we got that live, work and play community award for the state of Georgia,” Tramell said.

Tramell said he was pleased about the West Point Fire Department.

West Point Fire Department Chief Milton Smith was named as Fire Chief of the Year, and firefighter Levi Richardson was named Firefighter of the Year award by the Georgia State Fire Association in August 2017. The city also renovated the Virginia Cook Activity Center, received a safety grant for improvements on 3rd Avenue and approved Troup County SPLOST for sidewalk permits. Tramell said he was also pleased that West Point, Hogansville and LaGrange were selected as a county by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Housing Plan.

Most importantly, Tramell said he was delighted that the city council approved the $20 million 2018 budget without increasing citizens taxes, fees or rates.

“That was a pretty big accomplishment with no increase in taxes,” he said.

As for 2018, the mayor said West Point will see about five or six new retail developments downtown.

“We expect the announcement of several retail developments along the city major corridors,” Tramell said. “We’re in the works of a bunch of items I’m not at liberty to discuss right now, but along our corridors it’s going to take place. Downtown I’m expecting more restaurants and more retail.”

West Point citizens should also expect redevelopment on 10th Street, he said.

“We’re going to continue to work on the 10th street redevelopment plan with the preparation of land for new development along our corridor,” Tramell said.

“Our redevelopment plan has been in place for a number of years, and we’re finally getting some traction on that.”

Other 2018 projects include the construction of a dorm for Point University, additional progress on The Ray, construction of roundabouts and improvements along the corridor, Tramell said.

“We’re drawing in from all around from LaGrange, from Opelika, from Columbus, people who come to West Point now as a destination for dining, so (I’m) really happy with that,” he said.

The City of West Point is also hiring a new police chief for the West Point Police Department. Former police chief Tony Bailey’s last day at the department was Sept. 30. He is now the chief of the Powder Springs Police Department.

Tramell said the city is working with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and will make a decision by April.

“We put out a proposal for [the association] to help us find [a chief], and they put the word around. We work through the police association, and they get the word out to all the qualified candidates that this position’s open,” he said.

“We’ve gotten 18 applications so far, and we get them to help us weed that down and narrow that down to four, five, six, seven good applicants. From there the council, the city manager, we’ll all get together and we’ll do interviews and we’ll end up hiring from that.”