Catching Up with Greenwood Mayor, Carolyn McAdams
From time to time, we think it’s important to hear from local officials. Whether it’s a school superintendent, parks and recreation administrator, health coordinator or an elected official, these people are in many ways responsible for the quality of life in communities across the country. For this issue of Parents & Kids–Mississippi Delta, we have a Q&A from Mayor of Greenwood, Carolyn McAdams.
P&K: Why is Greenwood a good place to raise a family?
McAdams: I raised my two daughters in this wonderful community, and now one of my daughters is raising her three children in Greenwood. Greenwood is a caring community, and the citizens look after one another. The community comes together in good and bad times for each other. I love that we are a small city and, in my opinion, a very safe environment to raise a family. Greenwood is full of family created entertainment and family festivals throughout the year, such as the Viking Half Marathon, 300 Oaks 5 & 10k race, Que on the Yazoo, Stars and Stripes, Bike Blues and Bayou, and the famous annual Christmas Parade. Greenwood is blessed to have wonderful educational opportunities for our children, too, plus after school community center programs to help children that need a little extra tutoring from time to time.
P&K: What are the biggest recent successes in Greenwood that have directly affected the lives of families?
McAdams: I was elected Mayor of Greenwood in June 2009, and I have made a strong commitment to improve Greenwood to the best of my ability. I think my administration has done many great things to improve the quality of life in our city. Greenwood was blessed to have the Yazoo River flow through the downtown, and developing event spaces and walking paths along the area has increased a needed desire to use our natural God-given resource. The Yazoo River Trail is a work in progress, and we add features to the trail when it is financially feasible. We recently added in the wooded area of the walking path boardwalks, to make it easier for walkability in some of the difficult areas of the path. Two bridges have been constructed to enable folks to still walk the trail when the water rises. We have secured grants through Mississippi Wildlife and Fisheries, which have made these improvements and developments a reality. Just last year, Greenwood was awarded a grant from MWLF to enhance our boat ramp with a seawall to stop erosion along the bank of the river and to construct a small dock to allow temporary boaters to dock their boats. I see a terrific increase in water skiing, jet skis, pontoons, canoeing, kayaking and fishermen using our river, so I just want to make it easier for people to use our gift. This year the city also received an MDOT grant to finish the streetscape on Fulton Street with ADA sidewalks and historic lamps. Greenwood now has three completed major downtown streetscapes, which truly encapsulates the title of Historic Downtown Greenwood with a progressive look.
P&K: What are the biggest challenges faced by families in Greenwood, and how does the city strive to solve these issues?
McAdams: The largest challenges are creating jobs for our young professionals to be interested in staying in Greenwood or moving back to their hometown. While Greenwood has been fortunate to have Milwaukee Tools, Viking Range Corporation, StapleCotn, Wade Implement and many other great businesses to find employment, it is still a challenge to recruit our young professionals to come back or to remain here. The Greenwood City Council and I work well with Greenwood/Leflore Economic Development Foundation, always being creative and innovative with our incentives to provide better opportunities to secure top paying jobs to our city. We work hand-in-hand with each other to do everything in our power to work with the potential industry to see that Greenwood is a vibrant city with big city amenities.
Greenwood has great dining venues, the Alluvian Boutique Hotel and Spa, Viking Cooking classes and retail store, plenty of specialty shops, Civil Rights and Blues Markers, a highly active Greenwood Little Theater, and an upscale museum, which hosts many outstanding exhibits featuring local talent. I must also mention that we are considered the hunting and fishing mecca of the Delta. Greenwood has continued to make infrastructure a top priority throughout the city; in fact, we just completed a $6 million dollar street repaving project all through the city. Greenwood invested in a state-of-the-art Wastewater Treatment Plant several years ago to take the city into the next 40 years of managing our sewer issues. We also partnered with Mississippi Valley State University and now collect and treat their wastewater.
P&K: What are your dream projects/initiatives for the future?
McAdams: I am always looking at opportunities that keep Greenwood in step with the times. The city is currently inundated with C-Spire contractors placing fiber throughout the city, to provide the best possible internet and streaming possibilities for our citizens. The Greenwood City Council will hopefully be looking at bringing Bird Scooters to Greenwood, to reinforce my commitment to being aggressive to keep us current with the fast-paced technical world in which we live. Since Greenwood does not have a city-wide transportation system, this is one way folks can get from one place to another in a safe manner. I realize this might sound like small things, but for a city with a population of roughly 16,000, these small improvements can be game changers.
P&K: Are there any upcoming city-sponsored events, including Parks and Recreation activities, that families with young children would like to know about?
McAdams: The city sponsors a summer park program each year, but due to COVID, it has not been offered since 2019. We are working diligently to bring this program back this summer. It provides structured supervised activities for children from ages 6-12 and has been remarkably successful in prior years. Greenwood has a lovely, renovated City Pool that will be reopening this summer for the children, and which gives the adults a set time to swim at least one evening a week, too. This is indeed a safe zone for family activities. The next scheduled city-sponsored event is Que on the Yazoo, which is a Main Street Greenwood event that is indeed a big favorite with everyone. It features barbecue teams from all over, to highlight their favorite barbecue meat selection and be judged by experts in the barbecue culinary world. It is definitely for all-ages, to participate and hang out for an entire day and night. Bands are set up and playing music for everyone to enjoy, and dancing is encouraged. Vendors are all along Howard Street, eager to sell you jewelry, art, food and drink. Kids are busy bouncing away in all the activities set up in the KID Zone space. I often say it is a prelude to Memphis in May.
P&K: Do you have any additional comments?
McAdams: The Greenwood City Council and I are extremely accessible to the citizens of Greenwood. We all work well together as colleagues, to only be concerned with what will make Greenwood a model Delta City.
I love Greenwood; my family moved here when I was in the second grade, and I would never think of any other place to call my home. I love traveling and seeing other places, but always look forward to returning to my little safe-haven, which is Greenwood.