February 5, 2016
Southern Torch (3465 articles)

Fort Payne mayor to run for re-election

Fort Payne mayor to run for re-election

Larry Chesser, Mayor of Fort Payne















By Joseph M. Morgan


FORT PAYNE, Ala.—Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser announced on Monday that he will be running for re-election. Chesser said he made the decision over the past month or so that he would run for re-election as long as his health remains strong. Chesser has accomplished a great deal for the city of Fort Payne since being elected mayor in 2012 in an upset victory over 12-year incumbent Bill Jordan.

Chesser said he enjoys his role as mayor and finds fulfillment in helping Fort Payne’s citizens solve problems as he works to continue to improve the city. Chesser said he also feels like there is more work to be done. He said he is proud of all that the city has accomplished during his first term and credits the team he has placed around him for making success a reality.

“I have been fortunate to have had the right people doing the right jobs,” Chesser said. “Our city employees are top-notch. I’m lucky to have a staff and department heads that don’t need to be told what to do. They know what to do and I let them do their jobs.”

Chesser said he feels the most significant accomplishment under his administration has been an overall improvement in the organization of day-to-day city operations and records and in establishing a sound budget and paying close attention to the accuracy and timeliness in which that budget is put forth. He said another key accomplishments that stand out include the successful negotiation and redevelopment of the former K-Mart property, the success of the Veterans parade, work to decrease flooding, the addition of the splashpad and the securing of grant dollars and other funds for sewer and road projects.

Chesser said the biggest challenge facing Fort Payne is the continued effort to recruit large industry. “It’s just really hard for a city the size of Fort Payne to compete with the financial incentives that larger cities are able to offer a large manufacturer or other major industry,” Chesser said. “We aren’t giving up on those efforts by any means but we are certainly aware that bringing a large company or companies in could take a long time.”

Chesser said that while the city has not seen a great deal of success in attracting new industry, it has seen exponential growth and expansion from existing manufacturers in Fort Payne like Heil, Vulcraft, Children’s Place, Seimens and Gametime. “Outside of the sock industry we haven’t seen many businesses in Fort Payne go under,” Chesser said. “The industry that we do have here has continued to grow, and that even includes Renfro from the sock industry as they’ve expanded to meet the needs of their agreement with Fruit of the Loom.”

Chesser said some of the things he will be focusing on in the near future include the paving of Valley Head Road, rebuilding the intersection of Airport Road and Hwy 35, changing all city streetlights over to LEDs, repaving at the airport, a walking trail project connecting the city park to Little River Canyon, and (if grant funding can be secured) a proposed sidewalk that if made a reality would begin at the South Y and extend all the way down Hwy 35 to Walmart.  He said other projects he hopes to address at some point are the repair of Terrapin Hills sewer system, the eventual completion of Veterans Park, the teardown of the old hospital and a concrete canal running from the North Y to the South Y to address the problem of flooding once and for all.

Municipal elections in Fort Payne will be held in August. So far Chesser is the only candidate to have announced an intent to run for mayor of Fort Payne in 2016.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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