A lifelong Richmond Hill resident has thrown his hat into the ring for a seat on city council.
Robbie Ward announced recently he’ll seek the Post 2 council seat vacated by Tara Baraniak, and qualified Monday.
“Blessed are we who call Richmond Hill home,” Ward said in a press release. “Much progress has been made under the strong leadership our city has experienced over the years. I have been privileged to grow up under that leadership and it is my wish to become part of the forward momentum created by those who led before me.”
Ward listed public safety, attracting and keeping business and ensuring the city has adequate recreational infrastructure – ranging from parks to sidewalks and an aquatic center – as priorities. He also said he wants to make sure the city continues to grow in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Ward, the son of Bob and Suzanne Ward, graduated from Richmond Hill High School and attended Georgia Southern. He and his wife Lisa have three children, Hailie, Emilie and Zane, according to the press release.
He opened an auto collision repair business in 2000 in Richmond Hill, and Ward’s Auto Painting & Bodyworks grew to 200 employees in southeast Georgia and north Florida. Ward sold his company in 2016.
The release said Ward supported “several local non-profits including Richmond Hill United Methodist Church, the Richmond Hill Rotary Club, the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, the Bryan County Dog Park, the Buddy Walk, The 200 Club, The Shriners Hospital for Children, and various organizations supporting the US Armed Forces at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, just to name a few.”
The release also expounded on some of Ward’s platform. It’s included below:
A few thoughts for our great city…
A Safe Place to Call Home — Most people know and appreciate that Richmond Hill has one of the top public safety departments in the state. As we continue to grow, protecting our safe community will be my first priority as a councilman.
The city administration and staff have worked to execute infrastructure improvements with the recent annexation of 5,000 acres near the new Belfast Interchange. These improvements were primarily water, sewer, and roads. I will work to implement a budget that allows for additional fire and police protection for our citizens in this newly annexed area (including new schools).
Pro-Business— I started my business in Richmond Hill almost 20 years ago; I know and understand the struggles that small businesses face. Lowering fees for expansion of existing businesses and attracting new business is high priority. I believe strongly in creating a pro-business environment and will work to promote and advocate for small businesses.
As the city moves forward with existing programs, I will work to create new ones that will better attract and support business in the city.
Active Community— The economic impacts of an active community are limitless. The investment in recreational infrastructure, such as parks, sidewalks, and even an aquatic center, will be one of my key areas of focus. An aquatic center— built in collaboration with the City of Richmond Hill, Bryan County, and the Bryan County Board of Education will serve as an example for other projects and issues that these entities need to work together on, now and in the future. Not only do our children need this aquatic center for the future of the swimming community, but our city’s small businesses will benefit from the economic impact it will drive.
Forward Momentum— As the City of Richmond Hill and the entire South end of Bryan County continue to outpace other areas of our state in growth, responsible and sustainable growth will continue to be an issue. Collaboration with all leadership is incredibly important. I will work to strengthen the relationship between all parties to best serve our citizens.