Q&A With Scott Drake, Decatur Commission Candidate, Part 1
The Decatur native says it's good that developers are still interested in the city, but he wants to make sure the city government listens to the neighborhoods.
Scott Drake, 37, is running in the March 19 election for the Decatur City Commission seat representing District 1. The Decatur native attended Druid Hills High and the University of Mississippi and previously ran his own advertising and marketing agency. He is now director of client services for SolDesign, an interactive marketing agency. He lives in the Artisan condo building with his wife and two children. You can find more information on his candidate website.
The other candidate, Greg Coleson, answered questions on Monday. He will answer different questions on Patch on Wednesday and Drake will answer those questions Thursday. Answers have been edited for length.
Why are you running?
I grew up in Decatur with very active parents both in the school system and the community. I always had that instilled in me as a child, that it was a great city to grow up in and also a great city to be involved in.
As I moved back here after college I was at CVS one day and we were doing a big millennium event on the square and somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, we need help on the committee.” That was one of the first things I was involved in back in 1999 and I kind of went from there.
That’s sort of the background on why I want to do this and keep the community a great place and offer my services to the commission.
Do you favor the annexation the city commission recently proposed and do you think it has a chance of success?
Annexation is kind of a tricky subject. We have a lot of areas in Decatur that are non-taxable properties that are churches and institutions and county government properties. Right there’s a little bit of a burden on on us from a tax revenue standpoint. The logic behind that is to see how we can help minimize that.
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Recently when some neighbors came to the city from Midway and wanted to be annexed, that’s a very easy thing to get behind and like. … Outside of the city it’s a little bit tougher. I think you’ve got to take into consideration the properties and take into consideration the people that are involved in those properties and whether they want to be part of it.
That ship to me has already sailed with the city commission already taking a vote on annexing those properties. Based on what I’ve heard, … it’s not going to get well received down at the capitol.
What’s the biggest challenge facing Decatur?
I think the biggest challenge--I wouldn’t say challenge, I’d say opportunity--is that there are a lot of properties in Decatur that are gaining a lot of interest now that the recession has kind of eased up. We’ve got a lot of developers that are looking at different pieces of land that in the strategic plan have been identified as properties that need help, that need development on them.
I think we’ve got a great opportunity there to do some really neat projects in Decatur. We also have a responsibility to try and work with the neighbors that are going to be near those developments and take their considerations into play and work with the developers to get the best project out of it and make everybody happy with what those projects are going to be.
It’s probably been four or five years since we’ve had a real big development opportunity in downtown Decatur. The good thing is people are still interested in us.
What are some of these opportunities/challenges? Specifically, what developments are you talking about?
The Trinity Triangle Group is coming back. They’ve been looking at that property four years had a plan approved. They couldn’t get funding when the economy went south. Now they’re looking at going vertical and moving that plan forward. ….We don’t have any rental property in Decatur or not much. That brings a whole different demographic to our city. …
Another great opportunity is the Callaway Building. … The county is looking to sell that to Decatur. Decatur can then partner with a developer and put something there that we need. That helps help us by getting rid of a non-taxable property that DeKalb County owns. …
We have people interested in Decatur. A lot of places can’t say they have a lot of developers interested in their town. When we have that we need to take advantage of it. But we need to make sure what comes into Decatur is what we want and fits into our plan and protects our neighbors and neighborhoods. … We need to make sure we protect their interests as well as try to advance and develop downtown Decatur.
Other stories on the special election.