Former Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody launches 2012 election bid

Former Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody speaks to supporters from a tree stump near his home on Mount Sequoyah Wednesday evening.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Dan Coody officially announced his plans to run for mayor of Fayetteville in 2012 in front of about 100 supporters near his Mount Sequoyah home Wednesday afternoon.

The former Fayetteville mayor, who lost the 2008 runoff election to Mayor Lioneld Jordan after eight years in office, delivered a stump speech (literally) which focused mostly on problems he sees with the city’s current administration.

Coody said a lack of progress and overall vision have led to missed opportunities for a city that was once known as an innovator.

“True progress is in short supply at a time when the bar for real performance has been raised by our sister cities,” he said. “This city has been on sabbatical for long enough. It’s time for Fayetteville to get back to work.”

Coody took aim at the city’s recently implemented paid parking program calling it confusing, unwelcoming and aggressively punitive. He also criticized the city’s plans for a downtown parking deck.

Photo: Todd Gill

“The currently configured paid parking program was instituted to pay for a parking deck that was going to be needed for a new, 2,400-seat performing arts hall,” said Coody, speaking of the Walton Arts Center’s expansion plans. “As we know, that hall is now going to Bentonville. Then we were going to need this deck for a new, 600-seat performing arts hall. As we all know, that hall is going to the University of Arkansas campus.

“Even though the entire premise of the paid parking program and garage has changed, there has been no re-evaluation of this new and very different reality.”

Coody said there were some things that could’ve been done better during his time in office, acknowledging a wastewater treatment system that cost more and took longer to complete than originally estimated and the Renaissance Tower hotel that was never built at the corner of College Avenue and Mountain Street.

“I learned from all of them,” he said. “There is no doubt that my candidacy is an uphill battle, but I enter this race with a renewed passion and a humbled heart.”

Coody mentioned a handful of things he’d work towards if elected including improvements to the city’s recycling program, a flourishing downtown arts district and increased funding for local emergency services.

Coody is so far the only announced challenger to Mayor Lioneld Jordan, who launched his re-election bid in March.