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27 July 2007
JSU Professor as City Council Member Informs Kiwanians about Progress of Council Projects

By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Council Member Sudduth Speaks to Kiwanians

Sandra Sudduth enlightens Kiwanians about city of Jacksonville. Photo: Anita Kilgore

“I think as a citizen of Jacksonville it is very important for us to give back to the community that helped us to become the people we are,” said Sandra Sudduth as she spoke to the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club July 18.

Sudduth definitely lives her beliefs. In addition to being a wife and mother she is a professor at Jacksonville State University, a Delta Sigma Theta, Delta Kappa Gamma, advisor for the JSU Deltas, big sister at the Boys and Girls Club, on the Regional Medical Center Board of Directors, a Sunday school teacher and councilman and mayor pro tem for the city of Jacksonville.

“I don’t know how I do all of those things, but you know what, I enjoy doing everything that I do,” she said.

She spoke to the Kiwanians about areas of life in Jacksonville – from the education system to the recreation department and public safety – that are frequently asked about by residents and visitors alike.

According to Sudduth, the city has increased its contributions to the Jacksonville City School System by 33 percent since October 2004.

“In addition, the city continues to pay the salary and benefits for our school resource officer. We provide a baseball field, including power and lights for the field. We provide traffic control at Kitty Stone in the mornings and afternoons,” said Sudduth. “We know that if a city has a good school system you will normally find that the city also has many other good things to offer the citizens.”

One of those “other good things” is the recreation department. From the new soccer field springing up behind the community center to improvements at Germania Springs, the Jacksonville City Council has made a point to provide residents with proper recreation facilities.

“We also recently purchased approximately 11 acres north of A Street,” she said. “Our plan in the future is to clean up that property along the creek bank from Big Springs and make it into a nice, big park. That way we can provide a connection from the Chief Ladiga Trail to the square.”

A council project Sudduth is particularly proud of is the work done to keep Jacksonville beautiful. As she passed around a folder of before and after photos to the Kiwanians, she told how, thanks to a recent ordinance, Jacksonville’s compliance officer is able to deal with abandoned cars and other eyesores.

“Mark (Williams) has done an excellent job in cleaning up the city and hopefully when we get our new person in that position they will continue to do what he has started,” she said. “We want this city to be a place you will be proud of, a place that you can bring your friends and you can talk about what a clean and beautiful place it is.”

To that end, the city now also requires more landscaping at businesses around town. They also use the street department clean up trash along the city streets. Sudduth urged the group to help the city out also, encouraging the formation of a city pride day for residents to clean up the town.

The city is looking at improvements to be made along Highway 21, particularly in the area of the square, for safety as well as aesthetic reasons.

“We have been approved for a $260,000-plus highway department enhancement grant. This is going to be used to improve the sidewalks and crosswalks on the square and to build a new sidewalk along Pelham Road from Eighty Oaks to Winn Dixie,” said Sudduth, adding that the city hopes to get the money and complete the improvements in the next few years.

They want to make the square very pedestrian-friendly, but many of the ideas presented to the state by the city will not be allowed because the square is part of a state highway.

Sudduth updated the group on improvements, from technology and equipment to personnel, at the police and fire departments and how the city is continuing to strive to ensure there are plenty of firemen and police officers to keep all the city’s residents safe.

Jacksonville is continuing to grow. Last year saw the construction of 76 new single-family homes and the development of eight new subdivisions with a total of 141 lots.

“I’m sure you see that we’re still building. We wonder where the folks are coming from, but they are coming,” said Sudduth. “We have six additional subdivisions with 107 lots under construction, 53 apartments have been constructed and 207 are under construction, so we’re still having building going on here in Jacksonville.”

No matter the growth, Sudduth promised the council would ensure the city never outgrows its infrastructure or its small-town feel.

“We, the city government, do not want the citizens of Jacksonville to have to drive out of town to obtain things,” said Sudduth. “We also want to do good planning. We still want to maintain that small town atmosphere.”

About Jennifer Bachus

Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at

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