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Chavers campaigns on change in council District 2
Advocates improvement of parks as community concern
Paulette Chavers NEW
District 2 Councilwoman Paulette Chavers plans to sponsor an equity package for council action. Chavers served as a member of the One Boro commission from 2018 until she was elected to City Council last November and sworn-in at the beginning of 2020.

Paulette Chavers, campaigning for Statesboro City Council in District 2, proposes to be an agent for change and an advocate for residents.

On one issue important to her, she calls the parks in District 2 “below par,” and more generally says that the local governments have been allocating only meager resources for children and teens on Statesboro’s west side.

“I decided to run because I saw a need for change in District 2, a change in the meager resources allocated for our youth, a change in the social infrastructure and the physical infrastructure, a change in the poverty rate and also a change in the communication gap between the council and its constituency,” Chavers said in a recent interview.

She is challenging incumbent council member Sam Jones. Advance voting is now underway, Monday through Friday until Nov. 1 in the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration office at 113 North Main St., for Statesboro Districts 2, 3 and 5, as well as for Register City Council. Brooklet is hosting its own advanced voting at its City Hall. Nov. 5 will be the regular Election Day, for voting in the cities’ precincts.

Chavers said she feels she can be “a true advocate” for District 2 and Statesboro and is not afraid to do so.

“In order to properly advocate you have to build a relationship with the community, and to do that you’ve got to listen to them and care about them, and I am willing to listen to their concerns, especially the concerns of District 2, and carry those concerns back to council so that we can come up with a feasible resolution that can be instituted on behalf of people,” Chavers said.

If elected, she would hold town hall meetings with District 2 residents, she said. She also plans to maintain a website and a Facebook page, like those she has for her campaign, as pathways for constituents to offer input.

A mental health therapist, Chavers partners with Road to Success Counseling, which is based in Mount Vernon, but she has her own firm, Refocus Counseling and Consulting LLC. She attained her master’s degree in school counseling and her bachelor’s degree in child and family development both at Georgia Southern University. She holds Licensed Professional Counselor, Master Addictions Counselor and National Certified Counselor credentials.

A lifelong Statesboro resident, Chavers is also a Statesboro High School graduate. Now 38, she is the second-youngest of the seven children of Donald Chavers Sr. and Evelyn Chavers.


Parks & Rec

Although the city of Statesboro maintains a few passive parks, the larger parks in town are operated by the county-funded Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation Department. The Herald asked all council candidates whether they think the city needs more input and also whether they have specific ideas for improvements.

In fact, Chavers had mentioned park concerns in an earlier interview, after she announced her candidacy but before the official qualifying. Parks are a big part of what she means by “social infrastructure.”

“As I’ve said before, I believe the parks, in District 2 specifically, are below par,” Chavers said. “The purpose of the parks is to encourage family interaction, and the parks in District 2 are not attracting many families, and at the Grady Street Park, specifically, there’s not one single water fountain. There’s not one single sitting pavilion at the Grady Street Park.”

The park does have some bench seating near the basketball courts, but no shaded area, she added.

“So this resonates to the families that the county, who controls the Parks and Recreation, doesn’t really care about their families, if we can’t implement a water fountain … or somewhere to sit — that’s  something that’s simple — and that hurts me to my heart…,” Chavers said.

“Install a water fountain, put some pavilions out there for them to sit at,” she suggested. “This would just encourage family interaction, and that’s what Statesboro is about.”


Public safety

All six candidates — two in each of the three districts with elections this cycle — said they think Statesboro is a safe community. They were also asked how the city government could make it safer.

“I do think that Statesboro is a safe community,” Chavers said. “I’m all for public safety and ensuring the safety of the community, and public safety is one of my top concerns.

“But I do feel  that the Police Department — I feel like they’re doing a great job of keeping the community safe — but I also think that they need to build a relationship with the community, and one way to do that is by simply talking to the citizens of Statesboro as they patrol the community,” she  said.

That would help to eliminate fear of the police and let residents know “that the Police Department is the protecting force that ensures safety for the community,” Chavers suggested.


Transit system

The candidates were also asked about two long-term projects now in planning stages: the proposed city bus, or public transit, system and the Creek on the Blue Mile project.

“I actually think the transit system would be a plus in the community,” Chavers said. “One, it helps reduce the poverty level by providing individuals with a way to work, and it cuts back on the crime because if they have a way to get to work or they are working, they have less time to get into things that may be a safety concern for the community. So I’m all for the transit system.”


Creek project

“I am an advocate for the Creek project. … This project was designed to take care of the flooding problem that we have here in Statesboro, specifically in District 2,” she said. “There is a lot of flooding that takes place in District 2, so if we can create something that will eliminate the flooding but  at the same time provide jobs for the district, provide entertainment for the district and provide affordable housing for the district, I’m all for that.”

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

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