It’s official. Three hats have now been thrown into November’s mayoral race.
Barbourville Mayor Darren West filed his papers with the Knox County Clerk’s office Wednesday.
West said he has never felt an urgency to file his candidacy. Although he always had planned to run, he had more pressing matters on his mind.
“I just wanted to lay back and not get too excited about the election because right I’ve got a city to run, and that takes priority,” said West.
In the four months since being appointed mayor of the city, West is proud of the forward strides he and the city council have made for the city.
“The city council has been supportive of me, and our efforts together have brought positive relationships with city, county and state officials alike,” he said.
As for the future of Barbourville, West said if he wins the election in November, he plans to go forward with the economic plan city officials are currently working on to bring companies and jobs into the area.
He said it is important to work hand-in-hand with city officials who are are always looking for the possibility of growth within and around Barbourville. West’s plan is to take a proactive approach to creating and bringing businesses into the city by raising money for the city without taking the costs to the taxpayers.
“It’s sad that we had to lose an industrial giant like Tru-Seal, along with more than 200 employees,” said West. “We may not be able to entice a single company of that magnitude back into the city, but may maybe we can bring in multiple companies that will equal or exceed that number of employees.”
Not only is Mayor West looking at the financial growth of the city of Barbourville, but the beautification and improvement of the city within.
West wants to see downtown improve in both population and structure. This could be accomplished by making positive changes in some of the existing buildings. The idea is to get the building owners to change the look of their buildings either by renovating or renting the buildings.
“Either way,” he said, “it would be nice to see the buildings occupied by people instead of animals.”
Mayor West said he and the city officials are always looking at the possibility of growth in Barbourville. He also realizes this cannot be accomplished in the space of a few months, and that is why he is running for the office.
“You can’t expect a complete turnaround in such a short time,” he said, “but I’ve worked as hard as I can in the last four months.”
Work, West said, that includes the city’s street beautification program, future installation of benches at Thompson Park, and even the addition of a canoe race down the Cumberland River. Plans are for the race, which will run in conjunction with the Daniel Boone Festival, to begin upriver approximately two miles and finishing at Thompson Park.
West said the tourism committee has some great ideas for Adventure Tourism, and those ideas may soon come to light.
In the meantime, Mayor West is proud of what he has accomplished in such a short time, and is looking forward to the mayoral race in November.
“I’ve led the last four months with integrity,” said West. “I’ve tried to make the city brighter, but there’s only so much you can do in a limited amount of time.
Darren West joins City Councilman and local businessman Gary Williams and the former mayor David Thompson in the race for Barbourville City mayor.
The last day to file for the November election is 4 p.m. Aug. 12.