Traveling around Prichard, you’ll see new developments, alongside blighted areas. But what you don’t see is that it’s routinely been rated as one of the most dangerous cities in the Alabama. Statistically, 1 in 74 people is a victim of a violent crime. Crime is by far one of the biggest issues facing the city, ask residents, and you’ll hear what they want to have changed.
“Better public safety,” said Michelle Overstreet, Prichard resident.
Some also emphasize the need to drum up more business enrich the community.
“More businesses, a lot more businesses, would be a big help,” said Leonard McCants, a barber.
Those needs are all on new Prichard Mayor-Elect Jimmie Gardner’s agenda. He talked to us as he packed up his campaign headquarters, and gets ready to move to city hall.
“It just excited me the idea that I could offer something up to the city,” said Gardner.
Gardner had been the former Prichard Police Chief for a few years before Mayor Troy Ephriam came to office and fired him in 2012. It was contested in court, and Gardner lost.
“What’s in the rearview mirror will stay in the rearview mirror,” he said.
But safety is first.
“And so again everything comes back to public safety we’ll fix public safety, and we’ll start doing those things in terms of being able to reach out to businesses and creating opportunity and creating jobs in the city.”
Gardner also wants to increase officer salaries to near local averages. And another priority, transit.
“Very important, I don’t think any city can operate without public transportation.”
We asked him how he would fund and implement these changes.
“Right now I would really like to keep it that we’re putting the transition team together, we’re coming up with plans in terms of moving the city forward.”
His other priorities include fixing infrastructure. But, for now, we’ll have to get back to him on those specifics. Gardner takes office November 7th.