EPISODE #6, LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM MY MAYOR

 Interviewing Mayor Wood at City Hall.

Interviewing Mayor Wood at City Hall.

For episode 6, I interviewed my hometown's longtime mayor. When Mayor Jere Wood grew up in Roswell, it was a sleepy little village of just 3,000 people.  Jere spend his youth in the outdoors exploring and hunting. Today, Roswell is a vibrant city of over 95,000 residents. It could be easy to underestimate Mayor Wood and associate him with an "old south." However, I was blown away by just how forward-minded he can be.

The Roswell I grew up in was segregated. The KKK burned a cross at the ball field. It was a divided city. There was no diversity. It was a boring city. It was a city that I wouldn’t be proud of today. So, we can talk about what a wonderful place it was to grow up as a child, but it had real problems.
— Mayor Jere Wood, 14:37

He went on to talk about the real progress Roswell has made as a city full of diversity and opportunity. Our city has the largest Parks and Recreation budget of any of our neighboring cities. Roswell. We have world-class schools, and it's becoming a more exciting city everyday. 

Of course, (as always) I shared about my passion for youth sports and culture. The Mayor shared his perspective, with which I agree, that high school football is the purest representation of the sport. He is still, as am I, bursting with pride at the success of both the Blessed Trinity and Roswell High School programs. 

I tried my best to keep the conversation far away from national politics, but we did draw contrasts to the spirit of disunity that can plague our national conversations that we don't want to see infect our beloved city.

The conversation centered around a visionary new project that could stand as a lasting legacy of Mayor's Wood's service, the Roswell City Green. The project would connect our historic downtown to much needed progress, expanded the progress southwards, and create a destination unto itself. 

Did you know that Roswell has a war memorial? I didn't. I'm excited about this project as a way to honor our veterans and create an instagramable iconic monument. 

 I didn't even know this memorial was here. If we really want to honor our vets, let's not hide it in the woods. Rather, let's build a park that hosts events, is open and green, and becomes the iconic centerpiece to our city. 

I didn't even know this memorial was here. If we really want to honor our vets, let's not hide it in the woods. Rather, let's build a park that hosts events, is open and green, and becomes the iconic centerpiece to our city. 

If you'd like to find out more about the initiative, you can visit  www.roswellcitygreen.org. There is also a conversation starting about the project and its benefits on Facebook.

 https://www.facebook.com/roswellcitygreen/

 A rendering of the proposed City Green park.

A rendering of the proposed City Green park.

Additionally, we discussed the value of expanding MARTA rail line up 400, the current environment at city council, and the importance of people who love our city to let their positive voices be heard.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS!

The interview is full of some great nuggets and sound bytes. If you're from Roswell, I think you'll really enjoy this podcast. If you're not, I think you just might enjoy it anyway. You'll get a glimpse into my passion for my hometown, and how cities like Roswell are emerging as vibrant beacons of progress and unity.

If this article or the PODCAST resonates with you, please consider visiting the City Green website. Additionally, this coming Monday is a veritable "open mic night" at City Council. Come join me and lend a positive, forward-thinking voice to the conversation. It's hard to effect change in national politics. However, you can make an immediate and lasting difference in your own backyard.

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