Few local leaders have accomplished as much in such a short time, and at such a young age, as Varnell Mayor Dan Peeples.
Peeples, 35, came into office five years ago promoting an ambitious “2020 Vision” plan. That plan called for Varnell to build a new senior center, a new City Hall and a new pavilion. It called for improvements in city services, updating of the city’s recreation facilities and bringing more commercial and retail development to Varnell, especially along Cleveland Highway.
Peeples said last week he will not run for re-election this year, citing the need to spend more time with his family and his family business, and the desire to spend more time in leadership in his church.
He leaves office having overseen the completion of a new City Hall, the renovation and expansion of the Varnell House into a senior center, and the construction of a new pavilion on Main Street. Under Peeples’ watch, the city has built a new walking track and renovated its ball fields. And officials worked with the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners to extend sewer to the area around the intersection of Cleveland Highway and Highway 2, which should make the area more attractive to developers.
Peeples says he thinks he has accomplished about 75 percent of what he hoped to do and laid the groundwork for the rest.
He’ll be the first to tell you he didn’t do this alone. Peeples has had strong support from the City Council. He’s had plenty of cooperation from other local governments as well as the state government.
But Peeples set the tone for the city. He helped build the relationships that made it possible for all those individuals and agencies to work together so well.
And he leaves behind a city much changed for the better.