It’s official – after 18 consecutive years, Pineville now has a new mayor on the job who is hoping to bring a fresh perspective to town business, issues and initiatives.
Jack Edwards, 72, took the seat from long-time Pineville Mayor George Fowler last November by only 12 votes and was officially sworn into the seat at a special ceremony at town hall on Dec. 27. Edwards was not sworn in with town council members at an earlier business meeting because of a previously scheduled vacation.
Edwards, who spent 20 years in the industrial industry as president of an international company and five years prior in the United States Marine Corps, has spent the past three years living the retired life, taking it easy and frequently walking his two black Great Danes, Maggie and Rambo, around town. But it’s time to get back to work, and Edwards is confident his leadership experience and business background are what the town needs to move forward.
“Right now, I feel good. After being in the industrial segment for so many years, and then being retired for three years, it’s refreshing because it’s like a new adventure,” Edwards said. “And it’s my home, even though I wasn’t born or raised here, it’s my home.”
Edwards and his wife, Jyl, have lived in Pineville for about 14 years. They resided in nearby Waxhaw before that. Jyl has been a small business owner in Pineville for more than 20 years, Edwards added.
Now that Edwards is in town leadership, he hopes to improve town communication with residents and help create or continue relationships with other government entities or groups throughout Mecklenburg County. Edwards said he never felt like he could get the whole story on issues from town leaders as just a resident. And while he understands some things have to be left confidential, he thinks town staff can do a better job of communicating important issues and topics with residents. That’s one of his main goals for this term, he said, and it’s something Edwards expects will be easy to accomplish with the addition of new town administrator Haynes Brigman. Brigman, like Edwards, started with the town in December.
“I get together and talk with Haynes at least twice or three times a week,” Edwards said. “We are both new – together, we have the opportunity to set the tone of where we want the town to go.”
Initially, Edwards hopes to find resolution to the direction, home and partnership with the Civic and Cultural Arts Center of Pineville. The nonprofit is on the verge of being displaced from their Main Street home, but doesn’t have the funding to purchase a new facility or find a new rental property that most likely will come with an unaffordable price tag.
“With every breath I have I will fight for CCAC because I believe very strongly in the arts,” Edwards said. He also wants to see resolution with the town’s old police station, expansion of the Downtown Merchant Association, finding concrete plans for the Pineville-Ballantyne Community Athletic Association and connecting with Fred Godley, owner of the Cone Mill property.
“I will give all my time and effort to do what is necessary for the town to become a good or better place to live,” Edwards said. “Hopefully I can eventually turn it over in a better place than it was when I started.”