Daleville mayor looks back on 2017
In 2017, the City of Daleville experienced changes in administration and economic development and saw the start and completion of many projects.Mayor Jayme Stayton said economic development changes actually began in 2016, when he met with the city's former economic development organization, Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation."I sat down with them and spoke with them and had them show me what they had done for Daleville. In my eyes, they didn't do anything, so we were paying these people to do nothing. I thought, 'I think it's about time that Daleville took care of Daleville because I know that we'll have Daleville in our best interests.'"Stayton serves on the city's Planning Commission, which recommended the Daleville City Council leave the organization during its Jan. 24, 2017, meeting.The city council unanimously approved leaving the organization on Feb. 7, 2017."Once we did that, I immediately started making even more phone calls than I already was," Stayton said. "The first day I became mayor, I started reaching out to retail, fast food restaurants, any and everybody that you could think of from Miami to Seattle and in between."He said Wayne Stripling, the city's code enforcement officer, also assists him with economic development efforts.After re-evaluating the city's "numbers," which include city traffic counts, population numbers and more, Stayton said efforts to bring businesses to Daleville have been more successful.Two restaurants have officially announced their opening locations in Daleville, and another business is expected to announce its intentions to come to Daleville in the coming months.Outside of economic development, the city began working on a second phase of the Culpepper Park project. The first phase of the project focused on building two new ball fields.This second phase focused on upgrading areas highlighted as areas of issue by ADECA, including a need for a parking lot near playgrounds in the park. The second phase also included walking trails and a pavilion for park-goers.Stayton said the city also completed road and waterline projects for some areas of the city. Blackhawk Drive received a water main replacement, and Blackhawk Drive, Apache Drive and Skyline Drive were re-paved.The city also saw the swearing in of a new Department of Public Safety director in 2017.Police Chief William "Willy" Powell was sworn in to the position of DPS director on Jan. 18, 2017.Since his appointment, Stayton said Powell has been working with the police department's SWAT team and has helped implement a "Tough on Drugs" policy."I've had a lot of compliments on the police department about how our police officers going in neighborhoods where they haven't been in a while, like dead-end streets, at all hours of the night and day," Stayton said. "People are seeing police officers in their subdivisions and down their streets, and it makes them feel safer."While Powell has been in office, the city's rescue squad has also become certified to provide Advanced Life Support services to patients."I'm very, very proud of them. I'm thankful to Enterprise for coming to Daleville and taking our calls when our ambulance service was in shambles, but that was part of the reason why I was hard on the chief about getting and making sure that the rescue squad was up to par, making sure that we could run two ambulances at all times and that we could take of care of business when needed," Stayton said. "Everybody on the rescue squad does a great job, and the ones that made this happen, they did a really fantastic job. All our first responders, our firefighters, you know, they're on top of their game. Our police officers, they interact with the community."Stayton also complimented the work of all other city departments."All of our departments are doing great. Senior Citizens Center, they do meals on wheels," he said. "They pick people up, not only in Daleville, but Level Plains and Clayhatchee, also. Our recreation department, it's great; it's doing good. Our street department, the guys are doing well on all our trucks and our routes. Everybody inside City Hall itself does a wonderful job.""The water department, if you get up in the morning and flush your toilet, they're doing their jobs," Stayton said with a laugh. "What citizens say is our city workers, they go the extra mile for them. They treat (citizens) like they've known them their whole life."He also said the Daleville Public Library is an important part of the community, providing programs for citizens and other services."They're doing a great job," he said. "They are a vital, vital part of the community."Stayton described his first year of being mayor of the City of Daleville as a learning experience in the ways of government."It really was a learning process in the way the city, state and federal governments work and how grants work," he said. "I also learned you actually have to listen to people because I don't know everything."