Two first-time candidates seek at-large council seat Nov. 5
Neither candidate for Grove City's at-large City Council seat Nov. 5 is an incumbent, but both are familiar faces in council chambers.
Residents Laura Lanese and Roby Schottke are competing for council's at-large seat, currently held by Councilman Steve Bennett, who this fall is running for the Ward 3 seat on council.
While both are running for public office for the first time, both are longtime attendees of City Council meetings: Lanese for seven years and Schottke for 21/2.
Schottke, 65, is a 23-year resident who retired three years ago as executive director of instruction in South-Western City Schools, as well as a former science teacher and principal at Grove City High School. He also sits on the Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau board of trustees and is member of the Grove City Rotary Club.
He has two children and two stepchildren with his wife, Twinkle.
"I believe there's a place for the type of leadership experience I have," Schottke said. "I can look at the big picture."
Schottke said the biggest issue facing Grove City is managing its growth and addressing the issues growth can create, such as traffic and finding recreation opportunities.
"We need to seek out development opportunities," he said.
With the proposal for the Town Center from the Pizzuti Cos., Schottke said he thinks the project will get more people to live in the Town Center and help stimulate more development. Issues and details, he said, can be refined during the process.
"I believe in looking for opportunities and solutions rather than roadblocks," Schottke said.
For Beulah Park, Schottke said he would like to see the city reach out to a developer to utilize the site for some residential use, as well as green and park space, including an amphitheater. Schottke said he wants more public involvement to give the city direction for what should be done with Beulah.
"We should have a series of informal town hall meetings to do that," he said. "There can be all sorts of things that can be presented."
Lanese, 51, a 14-year resident, is a former member of the Ohio Air National Guard and served in the judge advocate general unit with the United States Army Reserve. She also worked as a staff attorney for the United States Department of Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
In Grove City, Lanese has been chairwoman of the city park board and co-author of three books: Images of America: Grove City; Images of America: Wilmington and Game of My Life: Memorable Stories of Buckeye Football.
She and her husband, Mike, have three children.
Lanese said the biggest city issue is planning for the future while preserving the community's history.
"I would like to see a Grove City 2020" plan, Lanese said. "We need to move with a plan. We've done a lot of development piecemeal."
Lanese said her legal experience not only gave her insight into how law works but also the importance of cohesion and teamwork in resolving issues.
"You tend to understand both sides of an argument," she said.
Lanese said Pizzuti has presented a "beautiful" Town center plan, and there needs to be discussion about the parking and what the market can support. The Town Center plan, she said, needs to be addressed to determine a course of action for Beulah Park.
Beulah, she said, is the remaining "important piece." She would like to see a private developer work with the city and hear what residents want done with the property, adding its historic nature should be preserved as much as possible.
"We are an extremely blessed city," she said. "The key is not to blow it."