July will bring a partial changing of the guard at the Clintonville Area Commission.

July will bring a partial changing of the guard at the Clintonville Area Commission.

Two of the nine members will be new to the advisory panel, the result of voting that was held for three districts concluding earlier this month.

In Districts 1 and 2, incumbents Mike McLaughlin and Sarah Snyder chose not to run again, both citing the increasingly contentious atmosphere at the area commission's monthly sessions.

Stepping in to take their places during the annual reorganization meeting will be Rob Wood in District 1 and Nancy Kuhel in District 2.

District 9 incumbent D Searcy did choose to seek another term and won against a write-in opponent.

With some, at least, of the dust settling now that the election is over, the winning candidates in the races were asked to respond via e-mail to a series of questions about the campaign and their future plans:

What were some of the most interesting aspects of running for the commission for you?

Kuhel: For me, the most interesting aspect was talking with people in my district, exchanging ideas and engaging in conversation about things that are important to them, to their quality of life and to Clintonville.

Searcy: Residents had not experienced the "big time" elements of an election in prior CAC races. Many commented on the professionally printed signs and wrist bracelets distributed by my opponent.

Wood: The process of connecting with over 500 people in the neighborhood was very interesting. Finding the diversity of the people here, their energy and ideas. It lifted me every night I finished a canvass. Also, listening to the range of issues and ideas coming from the neighborhood. I found new things. For example, though we live, for the most part, in a safe neighborhood, there have been a few more serious crimes of which I was not aware until I did the walk.

What would you like to tell voters in the aftermath of the election?

Searcy: Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote whether they voted for me or my opponent. It is important for Columbus officials and fellow Clintonville residents to see that the residents of this area are engaged and active. I will do my best to represent the interests of this area.

Wood: It will take all of us to build community. We have a great one from the start. In ways, it wants to change and evolve. In other ways, it wants to stay the same. So, I want as much input as I can get. What is important is that the energy, effort and time donated to the effort of building our community will be effectively spent. The CAC should function as a facilitator, the broad tent under which ideas are realized and problems are addressed.

Kuhel: Be nice. No, really, I appreciate all those who came out and voted. Now the priority is to work together with my fellow commission members in a civil manner, keeping the best interest of the neighborhood at the forefront.

What did you hear from district residents while campaigning that will influence your approach to serving on the commission?

Wood: That a vociferous, passionate process is acceptable, even desirable, at the grassroots level. The important thing is to be respectful and find convergent solutions as the initial passions cool. This is how community work is accomplished. My job is to facilitate and moderate when and where it is needed.

Kuhel: The desire to preserve what makes Clintonville Clintonville. Our current balance of single- and multi-family residences, our family-friendly business community, beautiful open spaces and the preservation of the architectural heritage of the area.

Searcy: While District 9 residents are some of the most involved residents within Clintonville, I still discovered several people who did not know about the CAC, its work and purpose. I invite residents to contact me to be on the District 9 e-mail list so that I can quickly notify them when issues arise. In addition, I am making plans to walk our neighborhood's streets to continue talking with people. I also invite all residents to attend the Sharon Heights Community Association monthly meetings.

Based on meeting with the people who are or soon will be your constituents, what concerns and issues do you anticipate will be your priorities upon taking office?

Kuhel: Providing accurate and reliable information based on facts and using that information to determine the next best step to take on issues important to the district residents, not just doing something to say we did something, but looking at the long-term effects of our actions and how those actions would benefit the community as a whole now and in the future. I am very much looking forward to this challenging opportunity to serve my neighborhood and the larger Clintonville community.

Searcy: Commercial development will continue to be of great interest to the community. People who have concerns regarding train horn noise are invited to come together to seek viable options. Our area is getting storm sewer improvements followed by repaving of our streets. We'll be living with the disruptions to accomplish the upgrades. Sharon Meadows Park is also scheduled to have a playground and walking path installed this summer.

Wood: Facilitating more community beautification projects, like the urban arboretum project Mike McLaughlin is already leading through UCAN. Community gardens and murals came up many times during the campaign. I would like to see these happen. Understanding the neighborhood crime issue better and possible actions to lessen it. And, I understand there is to be a new coffee shop nearby. We should use this as a catalyst to talk about how the community and governing bodies can shape or influence the development of commercial areas. There are a lot of questions here. It will be fun and wild. It will test whether we can do this respectfully, find convergence of ideas and take appropriate action from there. We will. We are South Clintonville. We're going to build something this summer.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

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