Special to the Review
Athens Daily Review
Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught has announced and filed his intent to seek re-election for mayor on the Athens City Council.
This past November, Vaught stepped up to the position of mayor of Athens when city council members voted after Randy Daniel resigned to take a justice of the peace position with the county.
Vaught was serving in Place 1 as mayor pro-tem, which he had held since coming on the council in May 2007.
While Vaught has been on the Athens City Council, he has worked diligently and pushed for many projects to help Athens to continue to progress and grow.
“We have seen some new growth in Athens with the recent additions of several new restaurants, which is great to see,” Vaught said. “But there is still more work to be done to get more retail and manufacturing jobs to come to Athens. Progress is being made in many ways to accomplish this goal and I look forward to helping make Athens begin to flourish.”
A project that Vaught has worked on while being a city councilman has been to improve the appearance of Athens by having many dilapidated buildings and homes around Athens addressed by the Cities Substandard Board. With the city’s Nuisance Ordinances updated and revised, many overgrown and trashy properties are being addressed.
“I hope by helping Athens look more visually appealing, that new businesses will look at Athens and consider or reconsider coming to our City,” Vaught said.
Another project that Vaught is tackling and working hard on is the revitalization of downtown. He worked on the committee to come up with an ordinance as guidelines to refurbish and build new buildings around the downtown square. He hopes to work on getting more parking and better pedestrian-friendly intersections around the square.
“We have got to bring back our downtown district as a flourishing area of Athens. We have too great of a downtown to continue to let it go in despair. We can work with the Texas Department of Transportation and the Athens Economical Development Corporation to work on improvements that would entice new businesses to the downtown area as well as encourage existing business to improve the front of their buildings,” he said. “We need to bring back the glory and the charm of downtown, that citizens and visitors of Athens have enjoyed and loved all these years.”
Vaught also was very involved in making Athens a “smoke free” city.
“I feel very proud that the council adopted the new no smoking ordinance. It was time for Athens to make the move and provide this to the citizens of Athens,” he said. “I feel that this was a great service that we could do for our citizens.”
Vaught plans to work very hard in making Athens prosper and grow by working closely with the AEDC, the Athens Independent School District and Henderson County. “We all need to work closely together to progress Athens, the schools and the County for the future,” he said.
Vaught has lived in Athens most of his life. His parents moved here when he was three years old, and except to attend college at the University of North Texas, where he received a degree in business, has always lived here. He is the co-owner of Expressions Florist, Gifts and Home Accessories for 23 years. He has served on numerous local boards and organizations, which include the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Henderson County American Cancer Society, East Texas Arboretum, and the Central Business Association of Athens.
“This city has been very good to me all my life and I want and need to see it continue to do well and prosper,” he said. “We have future generations that want to live here and raise their families here in Athens. It is important that we make that a reality.”