A certified geographic information systems professional and Army National Guard veteran is the first to announce plans to run for City Council this year.
Kris Paxton, 33, hopes to occupy the Ward 1, Position 1 seat currently held by Adella Gray, who has said she will not seek a fourth term in November.
Paxton is the technical services manager for the Springdale engineering department. He currently manages that city’s stormwater program and is the floodplain administrator. His job duties include reviewing and inspecting developments and subdivisions, and he is the northwest representative for the Arkansas Floodplain Management Association.
“Altogether, I have over a decade of public service, and feel that my experience with large-scale development reviews, park design, street design, drainage design, and as both a floodplain and stormwater professional give me special skillsets that I feel would benefit the residents of Fayetteville and Ward 1,” Paxton said.
He was deployed to Kuwait with the Arkansas Army National Guard during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a three-year resident of Fayetteville who lives in the Walnut Crossing subdivision in Ward 1 with his wife and two daughters.
Paxton said he feels the current council is moving Fayetteville in the right direction, and if elected, he’ll continue to support maintenance and development of city parks, trails and streets, as well as issues that keep Fayetteville a welcoming community that treats all residents equally.
“Ward 1 is my home, and I feel that appropriation of funds for maintenance and improvements within the City of Fayetteville should promote equal services, which may require more funding in parts of the city that are aging and need more attention than other parts of the city,” he said.
Ward 1 encompasses south and southeast Fayetteville, including the areas south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Huntsville Road. Mount Sequoyah, Happy Hollow Elementary, and Ramay Junior High School are also included in Ward 1.
Paxton described it as an area “with a little of everything,” including a diverse group of longtime residents mixed with thousands of University of Arkansas students.
“Working with the University of Arkansas in regards to its population effects, educational and employment opportunities in Fayetteville, and through partnerships and cooperation must always be considered,” he said.
The filing period for municipal offices usually runs from late July through mid-August.
Profile: Kris Paxton
Position sought: Ward 1, Position 1
Residency: Fayetteville resident for three years
Employment: City of Springdale Engineering Department
Education: Master of Geographic Information Systems and Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems from American Sentinel University in Aurora, Colorado – Associate of Applied Science in CADD Architectural from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith
Questions for Kris
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
Working for city governments has been my profession for the better part of a decade. I finally decided to seek election in order to serve my community and her residents. My wife and I feel that public service sets a positive example for our children while working to support their futures. I feel that the current City Council and their mission is moving in the right direction, and I support the council’s goals of making appropriate infill and revitalization the highest priority, discourage suburban sprawl, making traditional town form the standard, grow a livable transportation network, assemble an enduring green network, and create opportunities for attainable housing. As a father of 2 daughters, and husband to an amazing wife, I want to focus on things that will provide a better lifestyle to growing families in Fayetteville. My agenda goes back to the core values of any City Council Member, and is one that supports maintaining City Parks, well maintained streets and trail systems, and supporting a welcoming community in which all residents are treated as equals. Ward 1 is my home, and I feel that appropriation of funds for maintenance and improvements within the City of Fayetteville should promote equal services, which may require more funding in parts of the city that are aging and need more attention than other parts of the city, to ensure that all citizens are provided with the best experiences in Fayetteville.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 1? How would you describe that part of town?
My wife and I decided to become residents of Ward 1 when we located a new subdivision development which is perfectly placed in a gentle valley in Southwest Fayetteville between Wedington & MLK. Like thousands of Fayetteville residents in my Ward, my wife and I came to Fayetteville as a wonderful place to raise our girls and for employment opportunities. Several years ago we moved to Fayetteville, first residing in a 750 square foot apartment with our oldest daughter while working and searching for the best place to build our home two years later. I would describe Ward 1 as a ward with a little of everything. My neighborhood of The Coves and Walnut Crossing is a middle income and diverse community, with a combination of young families and retired citizens alike, which have both been drawn to our area for a quiet lifestyle surrounded by green hillsides. Of course Ward 1 is also home to thousands of residents that are here to attend the University of Arkansas. Many of these residents and a part of the UofA Campus are within Ward 1. Working with the University of Arkansas in regards to its population effects, educational and employment opportunities in Fayetteville, and through partnerships and cooperation must always be considered for a successful experience in Fayetteville and to retain young and talented workers for our local workforce. Ward 1 also has a large population of Fayetteville residents which have called Fayetteville their home for decades. We must show respect to the lifelong residents of Fayetteville, because their input and knowledge of the history of our community provides insight that is valuable to making decisions in Fayetteville.
Are there any recent council decisions you agree or disagree with?
Recently the City of Fayetteville passed an amendment to allow alcohol in City Parks with permission from the Mayor. At first glance I had the same questions and reservations that most other parents do when discussing areas that are generally for the enjoyment and activities of families and children. However, I trust Mayor Jordan and wanted to hear more about this plan. After listening, and hearing that our leadership has made considerations for security and event appropriateness, I feel that this is a good change that will be inviting to events and promote economic growth within Fayetteville by allowing a larger and wider ranged venue into parks such as Kessler Park in Ward 1. I feel confident that the leadership vetted this plan appropriately and made the right decision. I hope to participate in the future in other areas where we can make such changes that have a positive impact on Ward 1 and all of Fayetteville.