An interview with Mayor Kerry Underwood

By  | April 30, 2018 | Filed under: News

I have known Kerry Underwood for a very short time.  I have to say he made a favorable impression on me.  He is one of the main reasons that my family opened Southern heritage Gun & Pawn in Tuscumbia.  Underwood came to us several times asking us what we needed to open a business in Tuscumbia.   It is due to his visits and phone calls as well as Chief Tony Logan speaking with us that we opened in Tuscumbia.

Kerry agreed to sit down for an interview for the Quad Cities Daily.   Below are fifteen questions that I came up with for Mayor Underwood to answer.  His answers follow the questions in italics.

  1. Tell me about Kerry Underwood.  Your education, family life, upbringing, etc.

 

Kerry and Anna Underwood

“I grew up 3 miles west of Leighton.  I went to and graduated Colbert County High School.  I attended the University of North Alabama in Florence, AL, where I graduated. 

 

I am married.  Her name is Anna.  I have four kids, three Step-Daughters and a son.  The Step-Daughter’s names are Holly, Victoria and Faith.  Our son’s name is Walker.   We are extremely proud of our children.

 

I am a Certified Public Accountant as well as the Mayor of the City of Tuscumbia.’

 

2.This is your first term as Mayor for the City of Tuscumbia. Describe your term so far.

 

“I love it.  I have learned a lot.  It is different from what I am use to being a Certified Public Accountant.  In the CPA business, everything is reactive.  Being Mayor, I try to be proactive. 

 

The idea of having a positive impact on 9,000 people since Day One is overwhelming.    I want to do the best for the Citizens of Tuscumbia as well as the City itself. 

I look forward to each day as Mayor.  I know that it will be different each day.” 

 

  1. You were elected with a new Council as a whole. How has the working relationship with everyone being new evolved?

“We have a great relationship.  I think the main reason it is working is because we are working together.  We came in with a new mind-set.  Actually we had a blank slate which we built upon on.  We all came into this job to make the City of Tuscumbia better.   We want to improve life for the citizens who live here in Tuscumbia.”

  4.As far as financial growth for the City of Tuscumbia, is the downtown area or the Highway 72 corridor the best option.

 

“The area for the most growth potential is the Highway 72 Corridor.  We are working on improving and growing the Corridor to bring businesses into the City of Tuscumbia. 

 

However, the Downtown area of Tuscumbia is the ‘Heart and Soul’ of the City.  People relate to the downtown area.  They like to drive through and see what we have changed or made better in the downtown area.”

 

  1. There have been some problems reported with Spring Park in the newspaper as well as by Televisions News Stations. There was the incident with the roller coaster this past year there.  Some internet blogs are stating the park is in a state of disrepair.  What is your opinion of this and what is the solution to get Spring Park back to where it needs to be?

 

“First let me say that Spring Park is not in a state of disrepair.  We have been working toward goals to make things better in the Park.  We can always improve and will continue to do so.  We have spent $60,000 on the repair of the Roller Coaster and Train for the Park. 

 

Also, if you ask people about Tuscumbia, most know that we have Spring Park.  It is one of the area’s most popular parks.   Families bring their kids to play, have reunions, etc at Spring Park.  We are very proud of Spring Park.”

6.The Fall Festival that took place this past Halloween in Tuscumbia was a huge success. People that I have spoken to that attended the event said that it was better event than Sheffield’s Truck or Treat.  What are your thoughts on the Fall Festival?

“It was a great event.  We are really proud of the success of the Fall Festival.  It will continue to be an event that we have each year.  It exceeded our expectations of what the event would be. 

One thing I want the people to know, that this was collaboration between the local churches and the City of Tuscumbia.  I believe this was this biggest partnership between the churches and a City in the Quad Cities.  Our Police Department, Fire Department, Park & Rec Department as well as our Head of our Departments worked hand in hand with the area churches. 

Planning for this year’s event started In January.   We are hoping for a great turnout.”

 

  1. As Mayor of the City of Tuscumbia, what would you like to see for the City? What is your vision?

 

“My main vision is growth in retail business here in the City of Tuscumbia.  Tuscumbia has a lot offer everyone.  Our tourism is one of main assets.  With the Birthplace of Helen Keller and our collaboration with the Alabama Music hall of Fame, we hope that can influence people and businesses to come to our City.

 

No business is too big or too small to locate here in the City of Tuscumbia.  We would like to welcome anyone that might be interested in looking at opening or moving a business here in Tuscumbia.”

 

 

  1. I conducted an interview with Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan last year. One of the questions was, is a Metro Jail an answer to the problem of overcrowding of jails in this area.  Chief Logan strongly believes that it is.  I also agree with his statement.  With that being said, it would probably be located in the City of Tuscumbia.  Your thought on that?

 

“It is possible that a Metro Jail may be in the City of Tuscumbia but not required.  I am all for a Metro jail.  I believe it is the answer to help with the overcrowding of local jails.  The City of Tuscumbia would help anyway possible with the Colbert County Commission with this Metro jail.”

 

  1. What can we expect in terms of new businesses in the City of Tuscumbia this year?

 

“We are always recruiting new business for the City of Tuscumbia.  We are ‘Business Friendly’ here.  As I said, we encourage anyone that might be interested in opening or moving a business to Tuscumbia, please come talk to us. “

 

  1. In a recent City Council Meeting, there was discussion about receiving Sales Tax from online sales and you had made a comment that the City of Tuscumbia had just received a check for $20.00. As a person whose family owns a business in Tuscumbia, I feel that any Sales Tax collected from online sales should be forwarded to that City.  Tell me how this is done with online sales.

 

“This is a State issue at the moment.  The taxes money from online sales goes to the State and the State divides it up.  I think that if a person buys something online, the taxes should go directly to the zip code where that person lives. 

 

Another thing about online sales is it hurts ‘Brick and Mortar’ stores.  It takes revenue away from these local places that could keep them open.  I encourage people to shop local when possible.”

 

 

  1. At the same City Council Meeting mentioned above, it was announced that the City of Tuscumbia had received Federal Money for paving of roads. Is this type of allocation of Federal Money the best answer to offset the cost of paving streets for the City of Tuscumbia?

“Yes, this is the best way to help with paving of the streets.  The Government sends money to the State.  The State then divides it up for cities in an area.  The cities get together and the money is divided up. 

The cities figure out which streets get paved.  However, there are some standards or rules that have to be followed on which streets are picked. 

The City of Tuscumbia has been ‘out of the loop’ for some time on getting these funds.  So the governing body was gracious enough to put us in the front of the list to get these funds.  We look forward to getting started on these products.”

 

  1. The Helen Keller Festival is approaching. Give me the details that you have about the event so far.

“We are looking forward to the Keller Festival.  This year Red Marlow is one of the headliners.  You can find information about this big event on Facebook at ‘40th Annual Helen Keller Festival.”

Our Police, Fire and park & Rec Departments are working with the Festival’s Board to make this and enjoyable and safe event for the whole family. 

 

  1. There has been some controversy about the motel located at U.S. 43 and 72, in regards to the reintegration of prisoners into society. I know that the main concern was sex offenders.  Furthermore, the church has pulled from the project.  Do you see this as a viable option for prisoners trying to get a fresh start or should the program be revamped and redesigned?

“The Program needs to be revamped and redesigned.  We definitely believe in second chances.  However, we have to look after our safety and concerns of our Citizens of Tuscumbia.  Our Citizens come first.”

 

 

 

  1. In the past, the Tuscumbia Police Department and Fire Department has been “Stepping Stones” for employees to get training and then leave for other departments. I have noticed since Tony Logan has taken over as Chief, this has slowed for the Police Department.  I am also seeing more retention at the Fire Department.   Why do you think this is?

 

“I believe the main reason is Leadership based.  Our Department Heads work with the employees on goals.  They also appreciate and welcome the input and opinions of the employees.  We have found that people will stay with their jobs if they are treated correctly.  We know that we need to work on the pay scale and that is being addressed.”

 

15.In closing, what would you like to say to the readers of the Quad Cities Daily as well as the citizens of the City of Tuscumbia?

 

“This is more than a place to visit.  This is a place where you can raise a family and feel safe.  We have history in the City of Tuscumbia.  We welcome you with open arms. 

 

Also, come to the City Council Meetings.  If you have a concern or just want to know what is going on in the City of Tuscumbia, it all happens in the Council Meetings.  Come and let your voice be heard. 

 

I believe that the City of Tuscumbia is on the tip of some great growth.  We want you to be here to join in with this growth. “

 

     Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service.  He is the Store Manager of Southern Heritage Gun & Pawn in Tuscumbia.   He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble).  He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion.   He is a Senior Investigative Reporter for the Quad Cities Daily

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