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Chapman to run for re-election
Councilwoman: Work not completed after term

PORTERDALE - Councilwoman Arline Chapman announced last week she will seek a second term as the Post 3 representative on the City Council.

Chapman is the first Porterdale council member to state her intention to seek re-election. Other posts up for election in the Nov. 3 Municipal Election are Post 4, held by Mike Harper, and Post 5, held by Lowell Chambers.

Chapman said she decided to seek re-election because she has projects she wants to see through to completion.

"I think my primary reason to seek election at this stage in my life is that I just don't think my work is finished here," Chapman said. "I think there are things I have been part of initiating and I want to see them through."

Chief among those works in progress is an effort to create a recreational river access point on the Yellow River near Porterdale's restored depot. The depot has been designated as a trail head for Newton County's multi-use trail that will eventually run from the Yellow River to the Alcovy River in eastern Newton County. Chapman said she believes this project, which she envisions including a fishing dock, launch for kayaks and canoes and picnic pavilion, will make Porterdale a major destination point in Newton County.

"I just have a tremendous amount of faith that Porterdale is on the verge of coming into its own, for the second time," Chapman said, "because I know it was a very beautiful and viable community during the mill operating days."

Restoration of the historic Porter Memorial Gymnasium is another project Chapman said she hopes to see progress.

"The gym has been something that has been an ongoing thing, even before I was elected," Chapman said, "but I realize how passionate people are about getting it done."

Chapman said Porterdale's recent formation of a Downtown Development Authority, which she supported, would be a plus in moving the gym restoration forward.

Another goal, Chapman said, is to receive funding for creation of a documentary on Porterdale, which could be shown at the depot to people visiting the town.

"I still would like to see something done to preserve the history of Porterdale before it slips away," she said.

Over the course of her term in office, Chapman said she has been instrumental in raising funds to renovate and landscape the Porterdale gazebo and in retaining The Better Hometown Program, which Chapman said in a press release has "played a significant role in elevating the stature of Porterdale."

Chapman also cited her initiation of the idea of Porterdale hosting the Fourth of July fireworks in Newton County among the accomplishments of her current tenure.

The past couple of years have been financially difficult for Porterdale, and Chapman pointed out in her press release that she opposed cutbacks, furloughs and a reduction in city employees' salaries, as well as an increase in city taxes. Chapman said last week that she supports establishing a homestead tax exemption for Porterdale residents and strongly encourages efforts to enforce city codes and ordinances regulating the condition of rental properties in Porterdale.

Qualifying for the municipal election opens Aug. 31 and closes Sept. 4. Qualifying takes place at City Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on those days. The qualifying fee is $15.

"I have not made any definite plans for my campaign," Chapman said Monday. "I will have to wait and see if I have opposition."

During her first campaign, Chapman said she knew she had to get out and talk with constituents to gain name recognition.

"The last time I knew from experience that I was going to have to do a grassroots campaign, which is what I did," she said. "I went door to door, got my name out there, talked to people."

This time around, Chapman said she believes her constituents know her and know that she is available to hear their concerns. Chapman said if she does face opposition, she will mount an active campaign.

"I don't think you can ever take a campaign for granted, regardless of who is running," she said.

Chapman is a former flight attendant for Eastern Air Lines. She is a retired state employee, having worked for the House of Representatives, on the staff of Gov. Zell Miller and as executive secretary to Attorney General Thurbert Baker. She is a member of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Conyers, is an artist and a member of the board of directors of The Southern Heartland Art Gallery in Covington. She is part owner of Lofty Antiques of Porterdale.

Chapman has two sons who live and work and Newton County and two granddaughters.