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Nischwitz challenging Janda for Pos. 5 Alderman

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Rocky Janda, seeking his second term as Position 5 Alderman, is being challenged by David Nischwitz, a senior vice president of Property Redevelopment at Fogelman Management Group, in the Nov. 8 Germantown city elections.
A father of two, Nischwitz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration degree the University of Memphis.
If elected, Nischwitz said one of his goals would be to make “purpose driven improvements” within the city’s park system.
“We have very well designed parks,” he said in a recent interview on Germantown Municipal Television, “but they have aged. We need to have a competitive advantage with our parks. We need premier athletics and premier programs within our public schools.
Nischwitz proposed facility improvements within the school and park systems.
He noted that neighboring Collierville is in competition with the city in terms of attracting young families.
“Collierville is building a new high school,” he said. “Having fairly new parks is driving families to make a decision about where to live that may or may not work in the benefit of our city.”
Nischwitz said the city must work to “protect the values of local real estate.”
“We are landlocked,” he said. “So, we must improve our existing landscape, our existing footprint, making it better tomorrow than it is today.”
He said the city must grow in “smart” ways.
“Don’t just grow for the sake of growth,” he said. “Be smart.”
Nischwitz applauded the city’s “high quality streetscapes, low-profile signage, well landscaped medians” and well designed businesses.
“We must continue to protect that,” he said.
He also commended the city’s Triple A bond rating.
“We’re one of only 100 in the country,” he said of the city’s top notch credit rating.
In order to stimulate more sales tax, Nischwitz said the city needs more “retail growth.”
Regarding recent discussion over a future elementary/middle school in the southern portion of the city, Nischwitz said the school board should “drive the decision.” He also called negotiations to retain the city’s three namesake schools a “fight we need to continue to fight.”
“The school board election is just as critical as the aldermen,” he noted.
He added that he did not think that the proposed 31.3-acre site near Winchester Road and Crestwyn Drive was right for the future school.
“The Winchester location is a very poor location in my opinion for a lot of reasons,” he said. “There is nothing ‘community’ about that location.”
Noting that he has been in real estate for 20 years, Nischwitz said he is familiar with the proposed area.
“Winchester Road is a very commercial based street,” he said.
Noting that he oversees properties two miles from the proposed site near Hacks Cross Road, Nischwitz called crime in that location “some of the highest” among Fogelman Management Group’s 76 properties in 12 states.
“When we set a location we want,” he said, “we want to have a community that is behind it 100 percent.”
Lastly, speaking on what he would like to see done with the Winchester Road site, Nischwitz said he could envision an office park or a “nice baseball park” that could generate revenue by hosting year-round tournaments, à la the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Collierville.
Janda was elected to Pos. 5 Alderman in 2012.
Born in Memphis, he is a graduate of Germantown High School and the University of Memphis. He is president of P.O.P. Solutions Group, a brand marketing company based in Germantown.
Janda serves as liaison to the Financial Advisory Commission, Environmental Commission, Great Hall and Conference Center Commission, Retirement Plan Commission and is a member of the Audit Commission. He is a graduate and board member of Leadership Germantown and former vice president of Leadership Germantown Alumni Association.
Janda and his wife have three children and five grandchildren.
When asked about significant accomplishments in Germantown over the last four years, Janda said he was “most proud” of the city’s ambulance services.
The city cut ties with Shelby County’s contracted ambulance service in 2013 and hired nine additional workers and rented four ambulances.
“I was worried about it at first, financially,” he said.
He also noted that the city’s police department has added officers and coverage in recent years.
Regarding finances, Janda said the city has increased sales tax revenue 66 percent in the last four years. With the opening of Trader Joe’s next year, Janda said Germantown will have five grocery stores.
“I’m real proud of our economic development and all the things we’ve done to make public safety better,” he said. “Ten new businesses will be opening in the next 90 days.”
Janda said the creation of the Germantown Municipal School District and the opening of Whole Foods is helping improve the value of houses in the city.
He added that the city has a National Recreation and Park Association accredited Parks and Recreation Department.
Looking forward, Janda said he would like to “dress up” the city’s commercial district, which is often referred to as Old Germantown.
Janda said he envisions gas lamps, park benches, larger sidewalks, planters and something to signify an entryway into the district.
“So, when you come to our commercial district you know you’re there,” he said. “Its a little hard to tell these days.”
Noting that he is in favor of building a new school to alleviate overcrowding in the school system, Janda said he hopes to avoid a property rate increase until 2020.
“I’m trying to figure out how I can do that,” he said.
Regarding the location of the new school, Janda said any site is “going to have some issues.”
He noted that he wanted to convert the current Bobby Lanier Farm Park site into a school grounds.
“But we’ve gotten grants there that have stipulations that say you have to use it as a park,” he said.
Noting that he doesn’t think the Winchester Road site is a “great location,” he added that it might be the “only location.”
“If we end up having de-annexation come up,” he continued, “it will be a great location because of the Windyke and Southwind areas that want to come to Germantown.”
Noting that the school board will ultimately decide where to build the school, Janda said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will oversee the funding.