Board of Alderman candidate Doug Hay hopes to listen, sustain growth

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Alderman candidate Doug Hay in downtown Black Mountain.

Black Mountain News will be profiling all candidates for the three open Board of Aldermen seats.

BLACK MOUNTAIN - Doug Hay thinks about his 3-year-old daughter Eliza when considering the future of Black Mountain. His wife, Katie, is pregnant with a second daughter.

As the COO of No Meat Athlete, a plant-based health and fitness company, Hay is one of nine candidates listed for November's municipal election featuring three open Board of Alderman seats.

A six-year resident of the town, Hay grew up visiting his family in Asheville and Black Mountain each summer. He now participates in long-distance running in the area.

Hay said that it became clear that he should contribute to the town's development.

"I can't help but think of where they're growing up and what their life experience will be growing up here in what I think is one of the coolest little towns in America," Hay said.

Of the things Hay believes will enhance the town, he says he hopes to focus on taking advantage and planning for the town's inevitable growth.

The growth that seemingly "snuck up" on the town, Hay adds, is his number one priority.

"I think that, for a long time, we just kind of let that stuff come to us and haven't had a great plan for the impact of new development and growth would be on the town," Hay said, referring to his daughters.

Hay's current interests for development include upgrades to rainwater runoff infrastructure, new developments on Blue Ridge Road and investing in the town's green spaces.

Future development off of Blue Ridge Road, mapped in the town's Blue Ridge Road Small Plan, will be discussed in the Board of Aldermen's September meeting.

Hay's second priority is the town's available green space, including the investment of beautifying downtown.

"We're getting out, we're taking advantage of what this community has to offer," Hay said. "I would want to continue to invest in that and make sure that was a priority for the board so that if new opportunities came up for playgrounds or enhancing this golf course, or whatever we had, a focus and a drive to be able to do that."

This would include the completion of the town's greenway project set to be done in the spring of 2021.

His next focuses are business opportunities downtown.

"We have a downtown community of shops and restaurants that are fantastic," Hay said. "We underutilize that as a town and don't promote it enough, don't provide enough events or enough opportunities for people to get excited about going downtown."

Along with spreading development, Hay hopes to provide a forum for community members to discuss their concerns for the town. He currently holds discussions on his campaign's Facebook page.

Hay said that he hopes to bring the community's voice to the board.

"The board is just not doing a very good job with that," Hay said. "And the community members feel like they don't have a voice."

He looks forward to an opportunity to change the board.

"In November we have an opportunity to change that with the three seats opening up," Hay said. "We have a chance to reshape the board."

For Hay, he also has a chance to reshape the town of his daughter's future.

"Once I decide that I want to do something, I will make sure that it happens," Hay said. "I'll put in the work and dedicate the time that it takes."