Lauderdale council candidates talk aging properties, economic development

Two Lauderdale city council members are up for re-election this year. Seats held by Mary Gaasch and Roxanne Grove are set to expire at the end of the year. The incumbents are being challenged by newcomer Jeremy Carr.

Mayor Jeffrey Dains is running unopposed.

The Review asked candidates to elaborate on the experience they would bring to the council, upcoming challenges the city may face, and any priorities they may have if elected.

Jeremy Carr

Jeremy Carr

Mary Gaasch

Mary Gaasch

Roxanne Grove

Roxanne Grove

Carr, 36, is married to Rebecca and has four children. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and currently works for Zyga Technology, Inc., a research and development company specializing in devices that alleviate spinal problems. He also served six years in the Minnesota Army National Guard. He has lived in Lauderdale for 15 years.

Carr says his career and family background makes him a good candidate, noting that his experience as an engineer at start-up companies gives him skills in analyzing data and operating within financial constraints.

Carr adds that updating and maintaining aging properties, both residential and commercial, should be a priority for Lauderdale.

"As a city we must ensure that our properties are sensibly updated to meet the changing needs of our residents, enhance positive interactions among neighbors and to sustain community character. We must work to continue improvements to our commercial district with the goal of having a business corridor that is welcoming," he says.

Gaasch, 48, is married to Matthew Koncar. She has been on the council for five years. Gaasch is a program director at Hammer Residences, Inc., an organization that provides services for people with disabilities, and has a bachelor's degree in individualized studies in literature from Metropolitan State University.

"In my five years on the council, I have learned how to advocate for constituents, increase financial stability, maintain infrastructure and improve quality services to residents," Gaasch says.

Looking to the future, Gaasch believes developing a downtown area to bring in businesses should be a priority for Lauderdale, as well as making the community more pedestrian-accessible and improving aging housing stock.

"I would love to see a coffee shop and a small grocery store on our main street," she adds.

Grove, 58, has been on the city council since 2010. She has worked for HealthPartners for 21 years, and currently is a depression care manager there.

Grove notes a number of ways she is involved in improving the city, including serving as the council liasion to the parks commission and as a board member of the Ramsey County League of Local Governments, adding that she is familiar with the Ramsey County Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan that was finalized in July 2012.

"Some of the challenges facing Lauderdale are continuing to find options to help keep property taxes down, to reduce dependency on local government aide and continu[ing] to attract young families and businesses," Grove says.

Grove says some of her priorities include working with the county to install a sidewalk along Eustis Street and improving "neglected rental properties" within city limits.

Election Day is Nov. 4. Most polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Find your polling place and sample ballot online at http://xnet.co.ramsey.mn.us/elections/precinct_finder or by phone at 651-266-2171.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.

 


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