While The Colony City Council election won’t take place until November, Mayor Joe McCourry has already announced he won’t seek re-election.
After 11 years as mayor and two decades in public service, he simply knows it’s time to move on.
McCourry made the announcement late last year.
“Next year in November I will have been part of public life for 20 years,” McCourry said. “I’ve put in and contributed to the community all of that time to this point. I want to move out of the way and let new ideas get in there so they can continue to build on our past.”
For McCourry, a decade was long enough.
“I’ve been one who has always talked about a politician having term limits,” McCourry said. “Some of the other council members don’t agree with me. They say you have term limits when voters vote you out.”
Until November, though, he’ll finish up his term while hoping to continue the foundation he and his fellow council members have built.
“This council, except for maybe one or two members, has been the same council for 10 years,” McCourry said. “All of us have the vision to build the city that will be enjoyed by our kids and their kids. The whole council agreed on that. And to be together this long symbolizes that we have lived up to that promise.
“I think that’s the greatest accomplishment … to hold this group together to build what we’ve been building,” McCourry said.
McCourry said that includes improvements to streets, water and wastewater services.
But that also includes a positive corporate image with the businesses in the city.
“That’s really been a big key,” McCourry said. “Ten years ago we talked about the vision. What are the things that they have been asking for? A theater, a bowling alley.
“We put in a gateway project to make (State Highway) 121 an entertainment corridor,” McCourry said. “Other cities laughed at us and said we’d never be an entertainment destination. But look at what we’ve built. We stuck to the vision. And Grandscape is exactly that. Grandscape far exceeds what my vision could have been.”
According to The Colony Economic Development Director Keri Samford the city’s commercial valuation has increased by approximately $750 million in the last 10 years. There have been approximately 1,000 commercial certificates of occupancy issued in the city during that time.
Going forward, McCourry said he hopes whoever becomes the next mayor continues the city’s progress. He said that starts with the street improvement program the city has in place – design the project one year, put it in the ground the next.
“Hopefully as businesses return and revenues return we can pick up the pace of replacing the crumbling streets,” McCourry said.
He said it will also be important for the next mayor and future councils to stay on top of the water issue.
“It will be the oil of our future,” McCourry said. “We need to make sure we have potable water for residents all the time. Multi-millionaires are buying water rights. So I hope the future mayor protects those rights.”
McCourry said once his term ends he will miss the camaraderie he has shared with the council all these years.
“We’ve had great debates on issues,” McCourry said. “But at the end of it, we’re all still neighbors and support each other. I’ll miss that.”
He also said he will miss being the go-to person on what’s going on in the city.
“When people ask what’s going on in the city, I won’t have those answers,” McCourry said.
He said serving as mayor was a natural fit given his background.
“It was a great opportunity for me,” McCourry said. “I was a political science major, so I had the opportunity to apply my degree to my job. It’s been great and an all-around good deal.”