Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Oct. 16, 2000

Profiles of candidates for Lester Prairie city offices

On Nov. 7, the mayor will be elected for a two year-term, and two council members for four-year terms.

Eric Angvall

Why are you running for mayor?

I have made Lester Prairie my home for over 20 years and have previously served as a memeber of the city council and as mayor. Lester Prairie has always been a fine place to live and there are many opportunities for us all to become involved in our community. We are now at a point in time where we see the beginnings of some exciting new growth in our city. As mayor, I want to participate in the planning for that growth and do my part to bring about positive change and development in Lester Prairie.

What do you see as the greatest issues affecting the community, and what do you propose to do about them?

Lester Prairie is now entering a period of residential growth and that growth will bring about many new issues that we will have to deal with now and in the years to come. Important questions that will need to be answered: How will we learn to accept this new growth? How will we work together with the surrounding area to smoothly bring about this growth? How can we best address the needs of those in newly developed areas and also see to the needs of those of current residence? The greatest issues for Lester Prairie in the years to come will revolve around community growth.

Ron Foust

Why are you running for council?

Probably for several reasons. City government has always been intriguing to me and for that reason, I strongly considered being part of the city government two years ago through an appointment process when an opening became available. Prior to the appointment process, I was part of the Lester Prairie Park Board for six years. With this experience and knowledge, it provided the base work in what city government is all about and its functionality. Being on the park board, certainly working with annual budgets, city officials, city employees and citizens of Lester Prairie, has given me a broad spectrum of what can transpire in local government.

In the two years in city government, even though it has gone by very rapidly, we still have several issues to adopt and pursue. To fulfill that obligation, it becomes apparent to seek another term to carry out the mission. In June of 2000, we adopted a Comprehensive Plan for the City of Lester Prairie. Our Planning/Zoning Commission n Committee has put a lot of effort in developing this plan. This plan is the future guideline/goal setting for our community, and the citizens of Lester Prairie can be a part of the implementation process.

My family has been a part of this community for several years. We have taken pride and joy in all the activities that surround us and have been a part of our daily lives. For generations, the City Council has provided the necessary framework in which we live today in Lester Prairie. I would like to provide my civic responsibilities to carry forth those essentials and necessities for the citizens of this community.

What do you see as the greatest issues affecting the community, and what do you propose to do about them?

In spring of 1999, we conducted a survey within Lester Prairie to gather input regarding issues that face us today and certainly in the future. Those results of the top four issues are indicated below as part of our Comprehensive Plan booklet: new housing development 61 percent; downtown rehabilitation 56 percent; industrial park development 41 percent; affordable housing 40 percent.

Our growth over the last 30 years has been modest at best. New housing development is important in the overall makeup of the city. It stimulates exciting growth within the City, it provides economic benefits to our local business owners, our churches and schools flourish. We certainly have all the infrastructures in place to sustain good community growth. With new housing development in mind, we (planning/zoning and the city council) are currently working diligently with a developer and a planner to support a development area to take place on the Betty Wroge property, just south of the Crow River, along Highway 9. Being in close proximity of the metropolitan area allows us to be encouraged and excited that this could become a reality very soon.

Downtown rehabilitation is very important, as indicated above. Obviously, with new development taking shape, the activity level will increase proportionately. The need to revitalize our downtown area becomes that much more important. Businesses may expand their floor space, possibly a new facelift, and aesthetics surrounding our business district will become more apparent. As part of our responsibilities on the council, we need to be pro-active in providing leadership roles in solidifying possible grants, TIF programs, and economic development authority so our existing and new businesses can continue to be an asset to our community.

Industrial park development has been a high priority for several years. Having new businesses within our community provides great tax benefits and relieves the tax burden on our residential folks. No only having land space available, but to entice new industries to be a part of this community. To entice new companies to consider our community does take a lot of selling on our part. By knocking on the doors of future prospects, someday prospects will become reality. We have been and will continue to be pro-active in soliciting prospects to create an industrial park.

Affordable housing is an important ingredient to the health of our city.We all know that housing costs are escalating at an alarming rate. We need to have a nice balance of housing available within Lester Prairie to suit the needs of incoming residents and current residents. I believe we have needs for apartment units, four-plexes or of similar qualities, townhomes, twinhomes, single family homes with different ranges. All of these quantify for "affordable housing" needs. We have spoken to several housing developers, have toured them in our city. We will continue to enhance our opportunity with housing developers to ensure proper growth.

I will continue to be an active voice for the city government issues for the betterment of Lester Prairie. Not only for the four issues indicated, but certainly other issues as they surface, and be pro-active. The decisions we make today will have long-term impact on the health of Lester Prairie for today's generation and future generations.

With your help and your vote in the November election, we can continue the momentum, as our future looks extremely exciting for our community.

Rose Halloran

Why are you running for council?

I'm interested in how our local government works and how decisions affecting all of us are made.

What do you see as the greatest issues affecting the community, and what do you propose to do about them?

I believe our most important issue is increasing our local tax base and keeping our taxes down while doing all we can to improve our community and our schools. I believe this can best be done through encouraging healthy growth in the business community and in encouraging developers to bring new homes and new neighbors to Lester Prairie.

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