Two council seats are open as Wegscheid and Kelli Gillispie’s terms expire this year. Incumbent Gillispie is seeking re-election along with along with four other candidates: George Matthew Linkert IV, Cindy Penner, Jennifer J. Peterson and Jameson Smieja. The council seats are four-year terms.
Name: George Matthew Linkert IV
Family: Janet, Maeve (9) and Cecelia (8)
Education: Bachelor’s of Music Concordia College, Moorhead
Occupation: Program Coordinator at Sojourn Adult Day Services in Mound
Years lived in the city: 11
Community/civic organizations involvement: Mound Planning Commission (2010-2013) Mound/Westonka Rotary (2013 to present), Westonka Community and Commerce (2009-present)
Contact: [email protected], 612-245-1030
Why are you running for office?
I’m running for Mound City Council so that Mound will become a strong town and build places for people, and places of social and financial value. We should stop building parking lots and start building places where kids can safely walk or bike to the library, the local business or simply to their friend’s house. My priority when on the Mound City Council will be to build places that add value to the area. I want Mound to be a place to drive to, not drive through.
What do you consider the biggest issues facing the city?
I believe Mound needs to create neighborhoods and a downtown that is inviting to people, not fast cars. Right now, walkers and bicyclists are currently treated like second-class citizens with cars driving by at dangerous speeds. These are the people who are trying to get to work or get their kids to church or to Jubilee Foods for groceries. Places like Commerce Boulevard have just become stroads, street/roads hybrids, that actually encourage cars to go through Mound. When that happens, it becomes just as easy to drive the next town to conduct personal affairs, instead of Mound businesses and destinations. Neighborhoods along Tuxedo Boulevard and Grandview Boulevard suffer because the street they sit on discourages any social interaction. Front yards and neighborhood parks become unpleasant places for children to play in, and people nervously walk or bike on them only out of necessity.
If elected, how would address those issues?
I want Mound to become a city that positively engages its citizens. Simple solutions would include a return of “on-street” parking at parks like Surfside Park and Beach and downtown on Commerce Boulevard. I would also have Mound add value to its neighborhoods with adding painted lines on streets like Three Points Boulevard and making places useful to bikes and pedestrians, as well as cars. Imagine the residents of Bartlett Boulevard being able to actually engage in a pleasant conversation in their front yard, instead of waiting for lulls in traffic so they can exchange words.
Mound is already in the midst of rebuilding its streets – let us use this opportunity to rebuild them so everyone can use the them. Mound should be looking ahead and building a city for the next 30 years, not for the last 30. Let’s build a Mound that is a place to drive to, not drive through.