By REBECCA CARBALLO
HURRICANE, W.Va. - For the first time in eight years, Scott Edwards will not be running unopposed in Hurricane's mayoral election, which is scheduled for June 11.
Edwards has served as the city's mayor for 12 years, and said he wants to continue the work he's done so far.
"If I'm re-elected I want to continue what we've been doing," Edwards said. "From the day I started 12 years ago, we focused a lot on the kids, our senior citizens and being proactive with our police departments."
A few years ago, the city purchased 43 acres to create Hurricane Bridge Park, Edwards said. The new park that will extend from Midland Trail past Hurricane Middle School, all the way over to Main Street behind Hurricane First Baptist Church.
Edward said the project doesn't have a finish date, but added it's not an "overnight project."
There are going to be three football fields in the park, Edwards said. Work has already begun on a concession stand, press box and restrooms. The project is being funded through the city budget, but Edwards said the city is also looking at water and land grants.
Edwards said five officers have been added to the city's police force since he took office. He said the city may add another in the next couple of years, but hopes it won't be necessary.
"I wish we ... just needed a couple of officers," Edwards said. "I hope 19 would suffice, because I'd like to use that money toward something else. When we have more money, we don't hire more people. We simply do more for the people."
Edwards said the city has passed a number of public safety ordinances during his time in office, including one that prohibits registered sex offenders from being in parks or other "child safety zones," and one that makes it illegal to possess syringes without a doctor's prescription.
"We have a needle ordinance. Some people don't like that, but we do [have it]. You can't have needles without a prescription," Edwards said.
Edwards said the city also purchased a simulator for the police department where they can practice different scenarios such as hostage situations or school shootings.
For Edwards, this was money well spent.
"We're getting more money in and instead of doing something frivolous with it we're putting it right back into our community," Edwards said.
Jamie Mabon is also running for mayor, according to campaign filing forms. He could not be reached for comment after several attempts. According to information on his campaign website, he served in the United States Navy and pursued careers in law enforcement and as firefighter paramedic.
Early voting in Hurricane continues through June 8. Votes can be cast at city hall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.