Heights council member not running again
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Apr 22, 2014, 13:58
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — After five election campaigns and 12 years of service on the Colonial Heights City Council, Milton Freeland Jr. has announced that he will not be running for re-election in November.
During his more than decade-long tenure on the council, Freeland has overseen a number of developments in the city including expansions to schools and the library, the new courthouse, the initiation and continuing progress of the Appomattox River Trail System and the construction and renovations of numerous community parks.
Freeland emphasized that his decision was not based on any bad chemistry with the existing council, but that he’s had enough of the election process and it is time for someone else to take the torch.
“I don’t mind serving on council. I hate the election,” Freeland said.
First elected in 2002, and having been through two elections prior to winning a spot on the council, Freeland would face enduring a sixth consecutive campaign stint if he ran again in the fall.
“It consumes you,” he said, mentioning the necessary task of campaigning every day from August to November with the help of others to earn the vote of the citizens.
Freeland said that it came down to just 15 votes during one of the elections that he lost before being on the council, and that after so many times it just wore him out.
“I’ve always had a good working relationship with the members of the councils, and different managers that we’ve had. I’ve enjoyed working with all of them. It’s just time for someone else,” Freeland said.
Freeland hopes his replacement will share the passion and enthusiasm that he has for Colonial Heights, the city that Freeland has lived in since the day he was born.
Freeland, who has long been an advocate for developing recreational areas in Colonial Heights, commended the city for its focus on improving the community’s appearance, and hopes that it will continue along the same direction of community improvement and reconstruction after he leaves.
“We need to continue to look ... at the face of our property. ... You need to keep the city clean and in a nice upkeep if you want to attract people to come in here and live. ... If you let it start looking bad, then it’s going to get bad,” Freeland said, before stating that younger generations with a passion for Colonial Heights are critical in successfully achieving this revitalization.
In conjunction with Freeland’s hopes for the future, Director of Parks and Recreation Craig Skalak presented a five year improvement plan on Wednesday that outlined several big city projects in the pipeline including the estimated completion of the Appomattox River Trail System in 2015, the continuing capital improvements to Shepherd Stadium, renovations to White Bank Park, new tennis courts at both the middle and high school and a 34-acre athletic field complex (the last of which is further down on the ladder of priorities, but still a hopeful project in the future nonetheless).
Freeland, who has also been the council’s representative on the Planning Commission since his first term as a council member, said that he will have no shortage of things to do with his extra time off council, underlining his interest in boating, fishing and working on cars.