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Richmond Hill mayor discusses plans for final term in office

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 10:46 PM EST
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RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - The mayor of Richmond Hill is starting the new year with his last term. Mayor Russ Carpenter is proud of the work the city’s been able to get done, but there are still a few projects he wants to check off his list.

“Looking forward to it…another 4 years,” said Mayor Russ Carpenter.

His first four years were filled with some big projects to help the city keep up with its growth.

“We have a mantra around here — infrastructure before development.”

The mayor said the widening of Highway 144 and the new I-95 interchange near Belfast Keller Road were huge for the city.

“Economically a boom for our city,” he said. “The traffic congestion that we have lived with for many, many years is now over.”

Carpenter said COVID dominated his past year in office.

“Every time we think we’ve conquered it and we’re over it another variant comes out.”

He said the city has learned how to adapt — bringing back some major celebrations.

“Just a return to normalcy and that’s why I think we had the record crowds. People needed, they wanted something.”

The city’s needs continue to grow. In fact, Bryan County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the state.

“Many people live in Richmond Hill and work in Savannah and we would like to provide more jobs here in Richmond Hill and also jobs for our students to come back home to.”

As a teacher at Richmond Hill High School for 20 years, Carpenter said he knows what younger crowds want.

“Poll any teenager in Richmond Hill, they’ll tell you there’s not enough things to do so one of the things we’re trying to do is create more activities, more things to do, such as the Sterling Creek Park.”

The mayor also wants to hire more police officers — and open a third fire station.

He said he’s learned a lot as mayor.

“Not to be so quick to speak and talk about something. Let something settle before you get a comment.”

Mayor Carpenter said after his final term, he may consider running for statehouse, but he said right now, he’s focused on Richmond Hill.

The mayor will be sworn-in Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Richmond Hill City Center.

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