Candidate Jennifer Tisone Price, 42, said she would bring strong leadership and business experience to the office of mayor that would help keep Gahanna a strong and vibrant community.

Candidate Jennifer Tisone Price, 42, said she would bring strong leadership and business experience to the office of mayor that would help keep Gahanna a strong and vibrant community.

"We need a mayor who is fully committed to strengthening our community, finding solutions to challenges and bringing people together," she said. "Gahanna needs a champion, someone to stand up for our community. I have a demonstrated commitment to our community -- serving on the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Charter Review Commission, Planning Commission, Rathburn Woods Civic Association and as an active member of St. Matthew Parish and school volunteer."

Tisone Price works as associate director of communication at Bishop Hartley High School.

"Over the course of my career, I have led organizations successfully through changes and challenges, managed multimillion-dollar budgets, worked on complex public-policy issues and built consensus to move organizations forward," she said. "I have been honored as one of Columbus' 40 Under Forty business and community leaders and selected for Leadership Columbus. This is the type of proven experience and effective leadership Gahanna needs right now."

Whether Gahanna moves to a city manager or maintains the existing strong mayor system, Tisone Price said, Gahanna needs a qualified, experienced and educated leader.

"As Gahanna has grown, so, too, have the job responsibilities for the mayor," she said. "We are not a small community that can thrive under the old-guard model. With nearly 34,000 residents, we need a leader who knows how to get the job done. Given the interest in exploring a city-manager form of government, a mayor who also meets the professional qualifications of a city manager is the best option for Gahanna right now.

"I can see the benefits of both forms and hope the voters have an opportunity to weigh in on the topic," she said. " I believe it is likely Gahanna will move toward a hybrid system to maintain accountability and ensure a balance of power between the council (legislative branch) and mayor or city-manager (executive branch)."

Tisone Price said Gahanna's most pressing issue is its aging infrastructure.

"Maintaining and improving Gahanna's infrastructure is critical to ensuring the city's economic future, attracting new businesses and residents and also protecting property values," she said. "Gahanna has a large amount of aging infrastructure, much of which has or will soon be reaching its maximum life expectancy. Items such as roads, sewers, stormwater systems and certain utilities are in need of replacement and repair. We must take action to fix current infrastructure problems and prioritize road repair by developing a system for dedicated funding for roads, sewers and other infrastructure projects in the future."

Tisone Price said any assessments to fund infrastructure repairs should be temporary. Large new developments and key redevelopment projects could provide funding streams in the form of public-private partnerships and special development districts, which generate revenue to rebuild roads and sewers, as well as other infrastructure improvements at a cost savings to residents, she added.

Regardless of one's initial thoughts on how Creekside was developed, Tisone Price said, it is one of Gahanna's most visible community-development projects and should be evaluated on the opportunities it creates for the city.

"The apartments, which were initially condominiums, are in high demand, and it is my understanding that there is now a waiting list for residents," she said. "The office spaces are also in demand and near full occupancy. The C-Suites concept has been a success, acting as a small-business incubator in many ways. Several businesses have grown from the shared office space to their own larger offices. Yet Creekside still struggles with retail. To be successful in the future, the Creekside area will need to focus on destination retail, entertainment options, additional residential and leverage its proximity to the beautiful natural surroundings to reach the critical mass necessary for a mixed-use development."