2018-04-06 / Front Page

Fort Gordon housing seeks mayors

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Fort Gordon housing is seeking a couple of good, caring neighbors to step up and be the voice of their neighborhood.

Fort Gordon’s Maglin Terrace neighborhood is in need of a mayor to represent its residents. Olive Terrace’s mayor is preparing for a permanent change of station and will also need to be filled soon.

Each of the installation’s six neighborhoods, with the exception of Boardman Lake, which only has three homes, has a mayor and assistant mayor under the Mayor Program.

Harry Bloomer, Fort Gordon’s Housing Division supervisor, said the program “provides an opportunity for the Garrison leadership to get input from the residents through the mayors about things that are going on in the neighborhoods – the good things that we want to keep up and the things that might need to be improved.”

The Mayor Program is a volunteer-based Army program. Their primary duty is to help ensure residents are taken care of by being a voice for them. Mayors do this by meeting monthly with the Garrison commander, Garrison command sergeant major, deputy Garrison commander, provost marshal, and representatives from Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Balfour Beatty. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month.

“It is a chance for mayors to represent their neighborhood by going direct with leadership,” Bloomer said.

Since the position is strictly voluntary, it is up to the mayor to choose how they communicate with residents. Closed community Facebook pages have become one of the most popular methods of communicating.

Master Sgt. Keven Howell, mayor of Lakeview Terrace, is the administrator of his neighborhood’s Facebook page. Howell uses the page as a tool to find residents’ concerns he can address with leadership during monthly meetings. His wife supports him as the community’s assistant mayor.

Howell said he was asked by the neighborhood’s previous mayor if he would be interested in taking over upon her departure from Fort Gordon about eight months ago. He hesitantly accepted. Then he met with Bloomer, who explained the program more in depth.

“I came into this with an open mind and a lot of questions,” Howell said. “I had a lot of assumptions, and 90 percent of them were probably wrong.”

The biggest misconception Howell said a lot of people have about the Mayor Program is that it is involves policing the neighborhood. He was once one of those people.

“I was really reluctant about it because I didn’t want to be that guy in the neighborhood that had to enforce the rules, and come to find out that’s not the case at all,” Howell said. “We are literally a liaison between the Garrison command team and residents of the respective neighborhoods.”

Howell said the things he enjoys most about being mayor are knowing he has is making a real difference and being well-informed of what’s happening.

“It’s a great opportunity as the individual who’s the mayor to get that knowledge first and to put it out to the neighborhood,” Howell said. “You get the satisfaction of that trust from the neighbors to speak their minds and know that they’re going to be represented properly to the Garrison command team.”

And although it is merely a perk, not a deciding factor in his choice to volunteer, Howell also appreciates having the luxury of designated parking spots at the Commissary and Exchange.

If you live in Maglin Terrace or Olive Terrace and are interested in becoming your neighborhood’s next mayor, contact Bloomer at (706) 791-4502.

“Overall, the mayors are looking to make the neighborhood as nice as possible a place to live,” Bloomer said.

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