ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A city of choice. That's what the new mayor of Ashland, Kentucky says he wants to see his town become.
Mayor Chuck Charles was sworn in Thursday, during a standing room only city commissioners meeting.
Charles says one of his top priorities is getting neighbors involved, and helping make the city a place where folks choose to live, work and play.
“When you get the community involved, you make things happen,” Charles said.
That's why he's starting programs like Walk with the Mayor and One Community at a Time, to get the government back in touch with the people of Ashland.
“It actually brings the government to the people,” Charles said. “So when I go into their neighborhoods or downtown to walk, they can talk to me about their problems, or any initiatives they may want to see happen. And it kind of ties us together.”
At his swearing in ceremony Thursday afternoon, Charles spoke about the importance of community.
“You may not even know who lives beside of you,” Charles said. “When I grew up, you knew everybody for the last two or three blocks. I want to try and bring that back.”
Charles is also putting a focus on revitalizing downtown. Bringing businesses in, and helping the ones that are already there succeed.
“Have pride in their own neighborhood,” Charles said. “And kind of clean up and take pride in where they live. And extend that even into the downtown area. If we're going to be asking people to come in and do business here, we need to look like we're open for business.”
And making sure Ashland is open for business is exactly what the Ashland Main Street Program aims to do.
Danny Craig is the director. He says he's excited about the new mayor's focus on downtown.
“Give people a reason to come,” Craig said. “And that's what we're going to try to do. Give people a reason to come. Because when people have a reason to come they will come.”
“Excitement breeds excitement,” Charles said. “When they see something like a winning team, everyone wants to be a part of that. And it brings more people and more people in. So I'm going to do it one at a time.”
The Walk With the Mayor Program will start this spring in 15 different neighborhoods in Ashland.