Maggie Valley winners pledge to work together
Maggie Valley will retain two of its incumbents, including its mayor, for the next four years.
However, after a couple of years of disagreement, especially regarding residential development and RV parks, board members have said they are committed to working together to get the train back on the tracks.
According to unofficial results from the Nov. 7 election, current Mayor Mike Eveland won his race against challenger Janet Banks with 349 votes against Banks’ 151. In the race for two alderman seats, the top vote-getter was newcomer Tim Wise, with 407 votes, while incumbent Phillip Wight came in second and will retain his seat with 191 votes. Allen Alsbrooks finished third with 160 votes.
Wise said he was thankful to the community members who put their faith in him and cast votes in his favor. He said that while he’s been to several town meetings over the last year and he’s tried to stay up to date on key issues, he knows there will be something of a learning curve.
“The big thing for me now is to get out and talk to a lot of folks and talk to businesses and the chamber of commerce and residents and see what their feelings are so I can get a good idea of what people want,” Wise said.
Wise said he wants to keep an open mind and have honest conversations with people. However, he still does have a few things he’d like to see right away.
“I’m going to take the time to learn, but one of the big things I want to see happen is I want to do some proactive communications from the town to residents and businesses,” he said. “I want to embrace social media in a proactive way to let folks know what’s happening.”
Wight, who’s already served three terms on the board, said he was happy to win another term as alderman and said he was ready to get back to work.
“During the campaign I heard people’s concerns,” he said. “I know what their expectations are and what their vision is, and I’m going to work hard to make sure that happens.”
Wight has been in a precarious situation on the board the last two years. While the board could functionally conduct regular business, when it came to most decisions regarding zoning, Wight and his wife, Tammy, an alderman who didn’t seek reelection, were often on one side while Eveland and aldermen John Hinton and Jim Owens were on the other.
Wight said he’s ready to put that division behind him and work to find common ground.
“We’ll have to work together for the board and achieve things for the people,” Wight said. “I hope to have more conversations with the new board members and the past board members.”
A few years ago, Wight and Eveland got along well and agreed on most business that came before the board. Wight said he hopes to get back to that.
“We won’t always agree on everything, but we need to have those conversations,” he said. “I hope we can get back to that relationship we had long ago because we have four more years together. I feel like we’ve in a sense drifted apart.”
Eveland also said he was looking forward to bridging the chasm that has developed.
“Both of us are gonna be on the board four more years,” Eveland said. “We have to find a way to work together. Some people would say if we have 4-1 votes not to worry about it, but I think we can bridge that gap and have 5-0 votes.”
Eveland said he enjoyed the campaigning process, which allowed to him reconnect with the entire community as he spent a lot of time knocking on doors and hearing from both residents and non-resident business owners.
“I think that we need to continue to have the conversation both with the public and the commercial folks about the impacts that new neighborhoods will have,” Eveland said.
Eveland, Wise and Wight will serve four-year terms and join Hinton and Owens, who still have two years left on their terms.