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Holland: Eager to ‘serve in my community’

From investing in the youth to engaging community residents, Sharon McSwain-Holland set ambitious goals for her upcoming term on the Troy City Council.

Holland was elected Aug. 25 to represent District 1, defeating incumbent Robert Jones. She will take office in November.

“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work and serve in my community and use the time I have wisely,” she said. “I want to encourage and motivate the people in District 1 to be more engaged in the local community and in government.”

Holland, who worked for more than 25 years in corrections, is a native of Troy and District 1. She said she knows the value of taking ownership in the community and getting involved, and she wants to help other residents in District 1 develop and nurture that same sense of ownership.

“My biggest concern is to make sure I stay present in the community,” she said, adding that the district encompasses about 2,000 registered voters. “My goal is to hold quarterly community meetings and to go out to the community – setting up in a common place – to allow them to come and talk about the things that matter to them.”

Access, she believes, will be key to understanding the issues that residents face and developing the lines of communication necessary to address them.

“For example, the sidewalks on Three Notch Street are horrendous. I’ve got residents who are wheelchair-bound and can’t transition out of their homes because there aren’t access ramps to the sidewalks,” Holland said.

And then there is the issue of recreation for the district’s young children. At one time, the city operated the Knox Street parks and ballfields and the Washington Avenue park and and public pool in the district. All are closed now, as the city built a recreation center and Sportsplex on Enzor Road.

“They have nothing to do over here,” she said. “They have to go to the other side of Troy just for recreation … and some parents can’t do that. I’m looking forward to working with the mayor and other council members to try and get the parks back and vibrant again.”

Keeping the Boys and Girls Club, which will lose its location to a new county jail, in District 1 will be a top priority, she said. “I know they have to move it to another location; I hope we can keep it in District 1,” she said.

Holland believes investing in children and youth is critical to addresses any number of social issues.

“I worked in corrections for almost 28 years,” she said. “I’ve seen the byproduct when we don’t invest in our children. They grew up to be men caught in a system, looking for acceptance … we haven’t taught them how to mature, how to serve, how to protect, how to provide.”

Acknowledging she has ambitious goals, Holland said she is eager to get to work. “I’m truly excited to have the opportunity to work with the people of District 1 and the City of Troy.”