WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – A safe city to live in and visit is the goal of new Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Carswell. His plan is simple. He wants to lower crime and promote the good things about Waynesboro that already exist. He told NewsChannel 6 he’s going to solicit the help of his police chief, his new sheriff and the same people who put him in office.
It took an unsuccessful run and a second attempt following the death of former mayor Pauline Jenkins for Waynesboro Mayor elect Greg Carswell to get his time at the helm. The 36-year-old native tells me now that he has the chance, he wants to tackle safety among many issues.
“We want people to know that you can come through Waynesboro, you come to Burke County and you can feel safe, shop here, eat here, done here, spend the night here,” Mayor elect Carswell told us.
Carswell, who is one of the youngest mayors in the city’s past 30 years (Roy Chalker was elected at age 29 in 1975), defeated Kathy Owens to complete the expired term of Jenkins, who died in office. He plans to work with the police department to lower the recent spike in crime. Once people feel safer, he’s hoping more citizens can enjoy the Bird Dog Capital of the World.
“There was a movie theater here years and years ago,” he recalled. “And from the records that I looked up, in the 1970s it burned down but once it burned down it was no more.”
Carswell works in ministry and runs a photography business. He previously managed the Krispy Kreme in Augusta. He’s hoping to grow the city’s businesses, bringing more jobs. But first, he plans to take a look at plans already in motion such as the contentious Boys & Girls Club Mayor Jenkins wanted. He’s undecided about that, but wants to hear from voters.
“There are people that do want it and there are people that don’t want it. We want to look at it and see the pros and cons of it and see,” Carswell explained. “We want to make sure that it does not interfere with any other businesses here in Waynesboro. But we also want to make sure that it offers something for everyone.”
Carswell says he is eager to be sworn in and begin working to make sure people not just know about Waynesboro, but support it.
“Waynesboro Emporium, Burke Perk, right across the street. These are great places here in the city. But if you don’t have people flowing to these businesses, they can’t thrive. We want to get that out. Just like the new hotel here, Hampton. We have doubled and I want to say maybe also tripled in hotel tax because of the Hampton Inn that’s here now. We have to bring things to the city that’s going to benefit the city.”
Animal services has been a big issue in town. Carswell supports Sheriff Alfonzo Williams plan to take over those services to hopefully curb the animal problem in the county.