Public safety and riverfront attractions are keys to Milton success, Jones says

Published on October 01, 2013 with No Comments

Marilyn Jones sees Milton’s future in Blackwater River, which was the source of so much activity and fun when the City Council member was growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Those were days when boating and numerous other activities were regular events along the river.

 

“I’d like to see our city go back to enjoying the water,” said Jones, who is enthusiastic about plans for more Riverfront recreation and more downtown restaurants and attractions. “We used to have Fourth of July events, all kinds of good stuff.”

The riverfront and the city-owned marina also will appeal to health-conscious people who like boating, canoeing and other outdoor activities, said Jones, who joined the council in 1997.

In addition, Jones likes the ongoing efforts to expand Christmas in downtown Milton and the addition of bushes, flowers, trees and color to the roadsides and medians.

“I want Milton to be very inviting,” she said, noting the city’s family-friendly atmosphere already is a draw for newcomers.

Public safety focus

Jones got her pro-Milton feelings the natural way. She was born in Milton – at home on Ferris Hill in 1954 – and she grew up in the Bagdad-Milton area, where her mother operated restaurants.

The Milton High School graduate was always interested in local government. When a friend left the Planning Board in 1995, Jones filled the vacancy. Her belief: It’s not good enough to simply have opinions; a person should “step up” and try to make things better.

One person with whom she often discussed politics was Chuck Prince, a City Council member, who was married to her husband’s sister. They shared a desire to upgrade the dilapidated firehouse and police station of that era.

In 1997, Prince died and Jones was named to replace him. She’s been on the council ever since, facing no opposition at the polls.

“Either I’m doing a good job or nobody else wants it,” she said with a laugh.

Building for future

 Eventually the city worked through the complicated process and delivered much better accommodations for the police and fire departments.

“Public safety is near and dear to my heart,” Jones said. “I know they appreciate what we’ve tried to do for them.”

Now she wants to focus on other upgrades  – parks, recreation, especially for children, and other steps to brighten Milton.

“I want to make the city so people will want to come here,” she said.

She’s also working with Santa Rosa County Commissioner Don Salter to improve safety for schoolchildren walking along Glover Lane between Berryhill and Hamilton Bridge roads. Sidewalks would provide much safer passage and could be installed when Glover Lane is upgraded, she said.

When an issue arises, Jones tries to put herself in the citizen’s shoes and imagine how she would feel.

She recalls talking to Prince about this sort of attitude long before she joined the council.

He told her this was a good approach. “He told me, ‘It shows you’re a citizen first, a politician second,” she said.

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