Danbury Mayor Janet Whitt is running unopposed for re-election on Nov. 7 this year. Whitt recently responded to a questionnaire prepared by The Stokes News to share her vision for the future of Danbury. The following are her unedited responses.
– Please provide a history of your service as an elected official.
I was first elected as Mayor of the Town of Danbury November of 2009. This is currently my 4th term and if I win the re-election coming up on Tuesday November 07, 2017 this will be my 5th term.
– What do you consider to be your best assets / skills / experience as mayor and why have you decided to run for re-election?
This is an exciting time for our town. We have ongoing projects and plans that I want to see come to fruition. As you ride through town you can already see amazing projects in action or already in completion. I consider our town’s accomplishments successfully achieved since my election in 2009 to be my best assets and skills to our town.
– How long have you lived in Danbury? Are you involved in any civic organizations or church groups? If so, which ones?
I was raised in Danbury. My great grandparents, grandparents and parents were born, raised and worked in Danbury and Stokes County all their lives. My parents built a home and moved inside Danbury City limits September of 1965. There are no civic organizations in Danbury. I am always involved in Danbury Community Church and Danbury Baptist Church and Dan River Baptist Church, in our annual Christmas Celebration Event held in the Historic Courthouse Court Yard Square as The Town of Danbury Presents “Christmas Tree Lighting” and “Candle Lighting Dedication Ceremonies” that includes In Memory of and/or in Honor of Danbury and Stokes County “Special Citizens, Employees and Veterans” Present Awards. This year’s Christmas Celebration Event along with The Stokes County Art Council Christmas Event is held on Sunday December 03, 2017. All is invited to both events. Our town council, and myself is on the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments Board and the Stokes County Council of Governments Board.
– What do you see as the three biggest issues facing Danbury during the next term? How do you propose these issues be addressed?
Few things can be accomplished in two year terms and it’s the main reason I am running for re-election. We simply must stay goal focused.
Accessibility – if Danbury is to progress we must be accessible for residents, business and visitors. That means improving our transportation system: sidewalks, greenways, trails and parking.
Relevancy – if residents, businesses and visitors see no future for Danbury, we are no longer relevant. We will become merely a central place for government offices and the term “community” is meaningless.
Stability – Our town, like so many other small communities, is aging. We need to recruit our younger residents into civic duty and be involved in town council and planning board responsibilities. Their perspectives are needed as we reach toward our goals.
We recognized that if we are going to be satisfied with only collecting trash and providing street lights, our town will wither.
Along with Stokes County we adopted a comprehensive land use plan in 2015. This give us the framework to develop specific improvement projects that will make long-term sense.
Then in 2017 we adopted a Pedestrian Master Plan. The major components include sidewalks where appropriate to connect the Historic Center of Town with government services on one end and parks and recreation on the other end; a Greenway for Health and Recreation; and a trailhead and new route to Hanging Rock State Park. The Trail Project is amazing because this will create a destination point for day hikers that will bring new visitors to support our local and surrounding communities and the potential for attracting new families.
We are now working on developing a master parking policy. This will provide assurance as to when and where residents and businesses can utilize the public street for their purposes. The assurance of customer parking opportunities is essential in attracting new businesses in town.
All of the above will support not only tourism but new businesses that give locals and surrounding communities employment opportunities.
– What is your favorite thing about your community? What do you think is your community’s greatest strength?
My favorite things about Danbury of course must include I love my hometown, I love its citizens. Our historic courthouse brings back childhood memories sitting, playing, riding bikes around the courtyard square. I am passionate about our town and its surrounding communities and all their successes. Most all my family has a surrounding Danbury address. I support our local businesses and love nothing better than going to the local restaurants, general store, bakery/café our amazing new pharmacy/café, our newly renovated Arts Council-Events/Coffee Shop and chatting with people that have mostly known you for your whole life or not/and know they really mean it when they say, “How are you doing?” I love it when I go to surrounding bigger towns to find out that most people know about our small historic town with its local restaurants, our surreal scenic mountains, parks and rivers. And most have been to The Stokes Stomp. Our county has some of the most talented artists and craftsman in the USA and often with shows at our amazing Arts Council.
Our Communities Greatest Strength is our Small Town Core Values.
1. Strength of Family
a. We believe that generosity, respect, love and sense of duty has their origins in family.
a. We encourage debate and guidance from community members, including information those who are reluctant to get involved, that helps to ensure a broad range of ideas.
3. Fairness in governance
a. Not all outcomes may seem fair by those adversely affected. Adherence to a fair and open process for evaluating information prior to decision making is important to us.
4. Recognition of History and Lore
a. A community that understands and values its heritage, traditions and lore prevent the slow loss over time of the contributions of those that come before thus protecting Danbury’s identity and soul!
– Is there anything else you’d like voters to know about you or your candidacy?
I encourage all Danbury’s citizens to please vote on November 07, 2017. Please feel free to call me with any question or concerns you may have. And I will appreciate your vote on November 07, 2017. I promise to be the best Mayor I can be for our town’s success.