Pritchard returning as Edwards mayor
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2001
Mayor-Elect Daron Pritchard stands on the overhead bridge in Edwards overlooking Town Hall and other vacant buildings. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)
[06/20/01] EDWARDS On July 1, a person familiar with the issues will take office again as mayor of this small town in western Hinds County.
Daron Pritchard, 47, also a security supervisor at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, will return to the job after defeating Mayor James Holt by 352 votes to 160. Pritchard also served consecutive terms in the 1980s and held the office from 1993 to 1997.
This time around he plans to get the town’s 1,300 residents more involved.
“One of the ways we plan to do that is holding ward meetings and getting ideas from the citizens and identify those problems that need to be addressed,” Pritchard said. Edwards has four wards with one alderman from each and one elected at large.
Pritchard has lived in Edwards all of his life. He attended Edwards Elementary, Hinds Agricultural High School and graduated from Alcorn State University in political science.
One of the main problems Edwards faces is the water quality. The town does not have a water treatment plant because of the expense, but a possible solution is to partner with a neighboring town, if possible, to create a municipal system, he said.
Another challenge for the town, like so many, is revitalization of the business community.
Pritchard said that when he was a child all the stores around Front Street were bustling, but today they may remind passers-by of a ghost town.
A lot of commerce shifted to nearby Interstate 20 where a clutch of convenience stores stays busy. There’s still commerce at the on-ramp, but the Stuckey’s and Dairy Queen there shut down in May.
“My idea of a strong business community is people from the community taking risks of trying to open up a business that we need,” Pritchard said.
He said he looks for a family restaurant and an auto parts store in the future.
His decision to run for a fourth term was not for the money, but to bring change to Edwards, Pritchard said. The mayor is paid $400 a month.
“What we have to do is set goals and work to achieve those goals,” Pritchard said.
With the first six months back in office, a plan to raise community spirit and cut down on crime is top priority, he said.
“I think that is one of the key things in changing the town. If you don’t have pride in where you live you will not do anything,” Pritchard said.
This is a time to stop all the criticism and put forth actions, he said.
Crime and drugs are problems in Edwards, he said. During his first six months he plans on identifying and removing problem areas.
“This is our last opportunity. If we don’t do it these four years then I feel our little town won’t exist very much longer after that,” Pritchard said.