DM Collins Candidate Position Statement

Candidate Position Statements

DM Collins

Center Point Municipal Candidates

Position Statements

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Center Point should be working to bolster economic development by increasing businesses and working to establish a more diverse business index.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Location is a great asset. However, the city is not taking full advantage of this; the Parkway is the blueprint of a successful, business filled destination, but many properties are outdated, unmaintained, unattended, and uninviting.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

1. Improve Public Safety

2. Commercial Development Projects

3. Park Revitalizations

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

  • Major development projects along the Parkway and throughout the community
  • Tax incentives to business owners through abatements
  • Ensure permit requirements are clear and sensible

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

  • More sidewalks
  • Promotional and economic development projects
  • Creating more green spaces in the city
  • Park revitalizations
  • More lighting throughout the entire city

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

The city can best support the area schools through monetary donations to provide students with more resources and through partnerships with the community center and library.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

The city has a financial role to the library. We must work to ensure community programs are readily available to citizens in a central location, the library is a great tool and location for community programs for students, children, and adults.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon. Parks and Recreation is one of the City’s greatest assets

Reed Harvey Park

Existing services- Senior Citizen Activity Center, Splash Pad, Amphitheater, walking trail, and Fishing

Improvements

  • Pedestrian access to the park could be improved by installing sidewalks
  • Install more lights along on Polly Reed Road, the perimeter of the park, and in the amphitheater area
  • Utilize the amphitheater area for more activities- art festivals, small music shows, holiday festivals, etc.
  • Add retaining wall to amphitheater area and flower bed

Civitan Park

Existing Services- Boys Scouts Center

Improvements

  • Add all-inclusive playground area
  • More lighting throughout the park
  • Better parking across the street with walking bridge over the parkway for easy safe access
  • Updated fencing

Sports Complex

Existing Services- baseball, softball and a football field.

This park has recently been updated, which is great; the city should continue to maintain it.

Courthouse Park

Existing Services- walking trails, tennis court, softball and softball fields.

Improvement- Let me first correct something I stated previously in a graphic released by my team. This park does have restrooms. Because this park is leased from Jefferson County, I think the city should be very strategic with monies put into the facility. Money should be used to ensure the park is properly maintained, functional, and presentable.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

I would like to see the city put on more diverse events at the parks, inclusive activities and sports programs for disabled children and children who have interest in other sports.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

The Community Center offers great activities for both youth and adults with the open basketball court, the fitness room, and fitness classrooms. I think the building’s exterior could use some maintenance, i.e. pressure washing.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Clearing litter, illegal dumping, and over grown right of ways in a timely manner are issues that the city should work to improve.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

DOJ Recommendation- CenterPoint should review the current contract with the JFSO and develop an updated model that would focus contract deputies on violent and property crimes and developing relationships with the community.

The city does currently have contract deputies, but these deputies work to enforce city ordinance and back up the regular duty sheriff’s deputies. It is my recommendation that more contract deputies are added and their focus should shift to violent and property crime by implementing the Hot Spots and Community Policing Strategy.

The goal of the Hot Spots strategy is to improve order in specific high crime areas to create broad crime reduction results across the greater area.  Community Policing is, in essence, a partnership between the police and the community working to identify and solve community problems.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

There are many ways to attract interest in employment- sign-on bonuses and great benefit packages, to name a couple.

If the finances show that the city can start and maintain a police department I would definitely agree to the establishment of a department. If that is not the case, as an immediate course of action, I think it’s important that we work more progressively with the JCSO on better methods to improve public safety.

I don’t think it’s a great idea to depend solely on grants and donations from other police departments, (as other candidates have recommended) to cover the expense of a police department.

The goal is a safe city not a bankrupt city.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

The Center offers various programs that promote health, nutrition, and activity. In the additional space, I would like to see a small lightweight fitness room and office space for information and assistance programs.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Dy’Quese Collins works in Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs. She grew up right down the road from Center Point in Huffman, where she graduated from Ramsay High School. She went on to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she received her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Management. She is currently in school finishing up her Masters of Science in Health Services administration. She has worked in healthcare for nearly 10 years. A little over 3 years ago as a first time home buyer, she chose Center Point to call home. Dy’Quese has always had a heart to serve and looks forward to serving the people of Center Point for the next 4 years.


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