Join the Campaign
My name is Laura Mireles Anzures. I am a Smyrna resident, former law enforcement officer, Air Force Veteran, entrepreneur, community volunteer and candidate for Mayor of Smyrna, GA. Please let me know if you would like to join the Committee to Elect Laura Mireles. I am eager to hear your ideas for making Smyrna a destination! Here are some of the issues that I will address as Mayor of Smyrna.
The primary responsibility of any municipality is public safety. I will find waste in the budget and use that money to give our emergency response personnel a salary increase. We have officers that begin with Smyrna and then move on to higher paying departments. I also want to make sure our police and fire fighters can afford to live in our community. As with any career field, when you pay well, you can be more selective in hiring and retention to make sure we have the best public service personnel in the State of Georgia.
The City of Smyrna wastes a lot of money on surveys and consultants to tell us that people want to live in clean, safe, affordable communities with good schools. Well duh. I believe in spending funds in ways that directly benefit residents, not on countless surveys and consultants fees. We need to manage city spending better, rather than continue to approve high density housing development to increase revenue.
The recent growth and development in Smyrna has raised property values quite a bit. That's great if you plan on selling your home. It's not so great if you are looking to stay, buy or rent in this area. Ideally, there should be housing for residents of all socio-economic levels. People who fill entry level positions at businesses here should be able to afford to live here. MUST Ministries reported that 67% of people entering the shelter report that they are there because they struggled to make rent and faced eviction. Most of these individuals are working mothers with children.
Our public schools are operated by the Cobb County School System. Although the City of Smyrna doesn't have any authority over how the schools are managed, I would like to see the city advocate for Smyrna families when it comes to class size, facilities and student safety. I recently learned that the ratio of schools counselors to students is 1:450. Our high schools have student populations that are approaching 3,000 students per school. Troubled kids who may pose a threat to other students are not being identified and assisted. This puts our kids at risk.
There aren't many local spots in Smyrna to go for a date night. This means people are driving to other areas to enjoy live music, comedy, live theater, dancing and other entertainment. Attracting new entertainment venues to the area will create jobs and make Smyrna a destination for people in other areas of Atlanta. We have had a shift in demographics lately with an influx of young adults purchasing homes and moving in to the new high end developments. We need to consider this a quality of life issue for these younger residents, as well as some of us older "active adults".
PARKS and FITNESS
One thing I personally love about Smyrna is the parks. If you have small kids, they are great. If you have teenagers, you will agree that there are is need for recreational venues for older kids, young adults and kids with differing abilities. There are 2 basketball courts, 0 skate parks, 0 rock walls and very few open spaces with room to toss a frisbee or play football. The Market Square Community Center is great, but doesn't meet the needs of the city. We need additional, smaller community centers in other areas of the city. We also need at least 2 additional swimming pools and family fitness centers. I would also like to see pool hours extended with adult swim from 7-9 in the evening.
ARTS and CULTURE
So, we have some frogs and they are cute, but we could certainly benefit from having more public art from local artists. We could also benefit from having a public venue for indoor, live music events. We have a need for more community centers throughout Smyrna. These centers can be used to hold classes in dance, music and arts and crafts. I would also like to see some small events in the Market Village, similar to events held in Marietta and Roswell, where the community gathers in the evenings and supports local businesses.
I can drive to Chattanooga faster than I can get from point A to point B in Smyrna using public transportation. Cobb Link runs on major roads, but it's up to you to walk to these routes. We need a shuttle service to connect Smyrna residents to the bus routes and to shopping and city centers. We need to get cars off the road. Residents should be able to catch a shuttle from their home to the bus line and get to work in a reasonable amount of time. If Smyrna wants to attract companies that create jobs, we must upgrade the public transportation. The State of Georgia is working on a comprehensive transportation plan. We also need to work with corporate sponsors to get covered shelters at the main bus stops. Funding for these can come from advertising.
Revitalize Smyrna Market Village
The Market Village was built in 2002. Nearly 1/3 of the retail spaces are vacant. Smyrna residents head out to Marietta, Roswell or one of the other cities where you can park your car and spend the day on foot shopping, eating and listening to music on the weekends. I want to make Smyrna a destination. One way to do this is to close the two blocks in the main village area to traffic and turn it into a Piazza. Restaurants can expand their seating to the piazza.
I would like to get rid of that dated fountain and install interactive fountains that people can walk through. They should have lighting at night. This would be a great location to hear live music and enjoy fellowship with Smyrna neighbors and visitors. Our local businesses will benefit from having visitors spend money in our community. Pictured below is an Italian Piazza.