A former councilman and a trio of newcomers hope to unseat the three incumbents in the Grandview Heights City Council race Nov. 3.

A former councilman and a trio of newcomers hope to unseat the three incumbents in the Grandview Heights City Council race Nov. 3.

Three of the challengers -- Emily Keeler, Ryan Longbrake and Brandon Lynaugh -- are running as a team, sharing costs and campaign signs.

The fourth challenger, Steve Reynolds, is a familiar face, having served on council from 2004-13 before deciding to step down.

They are running against incumbents Tim Galvin, Steve Gladman and Ed Hastie for three available council seats. (Profiles of the incumbents appeared in last week's edition of ThisWeek Tri-Village News.

Emily Keeler

Keeler, 36, serves on the Grandview Heights Traffic Committee.

As a member of the committee, Keeler said, she is working with others from the community to help address concerns about the Grandview Yard development's impact on traffic, and the addition of 3,000 employees who will work at Nationwide Insurance's corporate headquarters in the Yard.

"I like the improvements that have already been planned and there's still some planning to do" to strike a balance between handling the increased traffic while keeping the community safe and welcoming for bikes and pedestrians, she said.

The addition of the Nationwide corporate center "is a great thing for the community. It will bring back a lot of the jobs that were lost" when Penn Traffic went out of business and closed the Big Bear warehouse operation, Keeler said.

The city has to develop a master plan for addressing its facility needs, and that process should include the community, Keeler said.

"We need to develop a list of priorities" for facilities to help balance what the community wants and needs with what is financially feasible, she said.

She said she favors granting a full income-tax credit to residents who work outside Grandview, but believes "a comprehensive look at all our revenue streams is important."

Before a full credit is granted, the city needs to understand how the revenue that will be lost will be made up or addressed in the budget, Keeler said.

That is especially important as the city plans to seek a renewal or replacement of its property-tax levy next year, she said.

Keeler is a program manager and community builder for the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University.

She has bachelor's and master's degrees in French horn performance from the University of Akron and a master's degree in arts administration from Florida State University.

Keeler has an 8-year-old son.

Ryan Longbrake

Longbrake, 41, said Grandview is going through an exciting time of change.

"Change is inevitable when you have a project like Grandview Yard," he said. "I think the foundation of Grandview is strong, so I'm not as concerned about it changing the basic character of our community."

The addition of the Nationwide jobs is causing concern about traffic and safety in the community, Longbrake said.

Studies were completed during the planning of the Yard to determine how to address those type of issues, he said, and the city must continue to work with the city of Columbus and other entities to monitor the impact of the development and determine the best way to address those issues.

Making sure the area around the Yard is accessible to pedestrians and bikes is one important way to help reduce the impact of increased traffic, Longbrake said.

The city's facilities and infrastructure are aging, and a planning process that involves the entire community is needed, he said.

"We need to understand what the facility and infrastructure needs are," Longbrake said.

The community's support will be needed to plan and pay for long-range facility and infrastructure upgrades, he said.

A full tax credit should be given to residents who work outside the city, Longbrake said.

"But I also want to make sure there is a more-comprehensive understanding of what our future expenses are going to be," he said.

Longbrake said he also is concerned that approving a full tax credit before the vote on the property-tax levy could cause some confusion among residents who might mistakenly doubt the need for a property-tax renewal or replacement.

Longbrake is a senior digital account specialist at Fahlgren Mortine, a marketing and advertising company.

He has a bachelor's degree in outdoor education, recreation and adventure services from Ohio University.

He has been married 11 years to his wife, Lynn. They have two daughters.

Brandon Lynaugh

Grandview is a vibrant community, and Lynaugh, 41, said he doesn't believe the Grandview Yard project is impacting Grandview's small-town feel.

"There will be growing pains as Grandview Yard continues to develop, but it's a net positive for the community," he said. "Traffic is a concern, but we just have to be smart with how we deal with traffic issues and the infrastructure upgrades we're doing to mitigate that.

"The character of our community is defined by the people who live here," he said.

The city has revised some of its plans for the road and infrastructure work planned for the area near the Yard, addressing some of the concerns raised by residents, Lynaugh said.

Grandview officials need to continue to work with the city of Columbus and agencies such as MORPC to find ways to make sure the development does not adversely affect the adjacent neighborhood and roadways, he said.

Grandview has facility needs that must be addressed, Lynaugh said.

"That process has to involve a communitywide conversation and collaboration about what we want the facility improvements to include," he said.

Lynaugh said he supports the idea of giving a full income-tax credit to residents, but believes now is not the right time for it.

"Even though the voters approved (the current income-tax structure), I don't think we should treat residents who work outside our community differently," he said.

But council shouldn't rush into granting the full tax credit, because "I don't think we have a full grasp yet on what some things, like improving our municipal facilities, are going to cost," Lynaugh said.

With a vote on a property-tax levy renewal or replacement looming, restoring the full credit now might risk causing some voters to think the city may not need the revenue the levy would bring, he said.

A more-comprehensive approach to taxes in Grandview should be taken before speeding ahead with a tax credit that will save most residents only $5 or $6 a month, he said.

Lynaugh owns Strategic Public Partners, a public affairs firm.

He has a bachelor's degree in political theory and constitutional democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University.

He and his wife, Sara, have a 9-year-old daughter.

Steve Reynolds

Reynolds, 50, who served seven years as council president, said he has been concerned with the way some of the additional revenue the city now enjoys is being spent.

Recently, council was prepared to vote on approving a contract with an architectural firm for the municipal pool project without it being on the agenda or residents having a chance to review the legislation, Reynolds said.

He said he also disagreed with council's approval of increasing to $50,000 from $25,000 the minimum amount of a contract that must be put out for bid.

Since he left office, Nationwide Realty Investors has been able to renegotiate various provisions in the Yard development agreement, Reynolds said.

As a result, additional financial incentives were granted to the developer and more Yard traffic will be funneled onto existing city streets, he said.

"Traffic from the Yard should stay in the Yard," Reynolds said.

Plans to widen Northwest Boulevard "are not a safe alternative," he said. "There may be some other options that may not be as palatable to NRI but will help maintain Northwest as a low-impact, low-traffic street."

When he joined council in 2004, the city's finances were dire, Reynolds said.

"But we came up with a plan and proceeded with baby steps that allowed us to make substantial improvements to our parks," he said. "We had a vision and we stuck to it."

A similar vision and plan need to be developed for the city's facilities, "and once it's established, we must stick to it," Reynolds said.

It is also important to gather the community's input on the income-tax credit issue, because the current rate format was approved by voters, Reynolds said.

"The income tax and property tax provide about 80 percent of all our general-fund revenue," he said. "That is a sizable amount of the city's revenue, so we need to do a much deeper and more-comprehensive review of all our revenue sources and anticipated expenditures and facility needs."

Reynolds owns Pinnacle Associates, a commercial real-estate appraisal company.

He has a degree in real estate and finance from Ohio State University.