Irmo Town Councilman Barry Walker plans to “Keep Listening” in upcoming term
Parking Regulation Repeal, 911 reform stand out among Walker’s goals
Irmo, SC (James Bowers) - Barry Walker has been running around a lot this week, thanking the citizens of Irmo for re-electing him for another term on its town council. Walker credits his victory to his willingness to listen to citizens about their concerns and ideas, something he says is of utmost importance as a public servant.
Walkers says that a particularly frustrating issue among the people of Irmo is a regulation passed in August that bar homeowners from parking vehicles in areas on their lawns other than the designated driveways. Violators of this ordinance are subject to a fine of over $1,000. The ruling has caused considerable outrage, given that construction/expansion of driveways is a very expensive undertaking that many residents cannot afford. Walker says he plans to seek a repeal of the policy, and then look at the parking issue on a case-by-case basis. “The issue is not the intent of the law (to make home fronts more presentable to potential residents), but the “blanket” application of over the entire town,” Walker said. “There are many obstacles and scenarios that make the law impractical.” Walker cities as an example an ill Irmo resident who is physically unable to walk from his front door to his driveway. He says this is an real example of the potential harm caused by the controversial law.
Walker also has taken issue with Lexington and Richland County’s 911 system that serves to dispatch the ambulances, police, and firefighters within the town. Operators in the area are unable to determine the exact location of a 911 caller if that call if placed from a mobile phone. This can cause serious delays in getting emergency services to the proper location. Walker says the technology for operators to locate sites of 911 calls from cell phones is available, but is not used by the county center that dispatches for Irmo as the cost is deemed excessive. Walker plans to ensure that this technology is used by the emergency dispatch services that cover the town. “If someone dies because services did not reach them in time (because of the location issue), their family could then sue the town,”Walker said. He says that emphasizing the importance of the technology upgrade should be a top priiority..
Walker’s tenure hasn’t been all about finding problems to fix, however. One of his chief accomplishments has been the creation of the new Irmo community park. The councilman played a key role in securing funding and planning for the new facility, which boasts such amenities as an amphitheater for live music and state of the art playground equipment. Not only is it a great place to bring families, but the park provides the town a great gathering spot, and potential revenue generating opportunity through event hosting.
Walker has his sights on a new challenge in 2019, the mayor’s seat. The longtime Irmo resident announced during his council term acceptance speech Tuesday night that he will challenge incumbent Hardy King for the top spot in town government that year. If the reception Walker got when he announced his intention to run for mayor is any indication, he will have great support in that challenge. As he made the announcement, a cheer rose from the room!