Below is a summary, in their own words, from your Minerva Park candidates for Village Council.
VILLAGE COUNCIL CANDIDATES
My family joined the village in 2018, however we have lived just outside the MP border for close to 30+ years. In fact I attended Hawthorne Elementary from 1st-5th grade and graduated from Westerville North. After high school I continued my education at Columbus State and Franklin University, where I earned degrees in Finance, while working full time. Shortly after my graduation I married my wife and best friend Sherlaine in 2006, we’ve been blessed with two amazing boys that both attend school inside of Minerva Park. Professionally I’ve been in the insurance industry for the last 20 years, in capacities of underwriting and claims. Moving inside of Minerva Park was a great decision for our family. About a year ago I joined the Planning and Zoning Committee in the village. Seeing many of the opportunities and challenges we have ahead of the village lights a special fire inside of me that wants to help. This is what has driven me to run for Village Council. Minerva Park has a storied history and a bright future. We have an opportunity to continue to make our community one of the premier neighborhoods of Central Ohio, and for the sake of our kids and those that were here before us, we should continue to make that our goal. Three things will always be in my focus if elected. 1. Safety 2. Community 3. Communication Safety is always first, if you don’t feel safe, not much else matters. Community is focused on the things that bring us together, events, walking paths, pool and green spaces. Communication must be better, we need to find better ways to get information to villagers and form villagers to communicate with government. I hope to earn your vote on November 7th and I hope to hear from you on anything you wish to discuss, feel free to message me or email me TommyGrant@gmail.com
My husband Michael and I moved to Minerva Park in June 2019 and fell in love with the Village right away. We bought a house built in 1958 and have spent the past 4 years bringing it into the 21st century! We love our neighbors, our neighborhood, the lakes, the pool and having 3 top notch Westerville schools right in the Village. It is great for the Village children that they don’t have to leave the Village until high school.
My top priorities are:
1. Reclamation of our lakes – making sure they are safe, clean and the shores are secured. This will require working with environmental professionals to map out the best plan and determining how to move forward.
2. Sewers – our current mayor has achieved substantial success in updating our sewers. However, we are not done. We must continue to identify next steps and build plans to continue updating until we are done.
3. Pool – our community pool is a wonderful, unique asset to our Village. Now is the time to envision the next 60 years of this asset.
We are a small village with limited revenue. We need to carefully prioritize our needs and wants. We are fortunate to have experienced people in our administrative roles who understand how to maximize our revenue sources.
Minerva Park prioritizes safety so our citizens ensure we have the financial resources to support our own police force. However, the police can’t protect over 2,000 citizens by themselves. We live in an area where neighbors know each other and watch out for each other. This is encouraged by the Minerva Park Community Association which hosts several Village events and gatherings throughout the year.
I have 20 years for profit communications experience and 20 years nonprofit management & fundraising experience. In addition, I am a doctoral candidate at Franklin University.
My husband and I are graduates of Westerville South High School. I also attended Columbus State before finishing my degree at OSU. We moved to the village in 2018, to one of the new homes built by M/I. We are enjoying raising our youngest two daughters here. One is currently following in our footsteps at South, while the other is excited to be a member of the first 6th grade class at Minerva Park Middle School. One of my favorite things about this community is the diversity. Did you know we have a food club, book club, bourbon club, 3 PTAs, community pool parties, all in addition to our beautiful natural areas and trails? I've even helped rescue a goose! Minerva Park is truly a diverse community, and a wonderful place to live.
My top priorities are:
2. Safety We live in a small community, but we still struggle to communicate effectively. Our government is local people doing things in our local community, and yet somehow our citizens frequently feel as if they don't know what or whether anything is being done. Likewise, our citizens frequently need things but don't know where to ask or look for them. Bridging this gap would be one of my major goals if elected. The other top need in our community is safety. With the increase in homes, new streets, and a large influx of traffic into the village for the new schools, we are all concerned about the additional safety needs. Identifying specific needs and potential solutions is also critical to keeping our community safe.
Our dedicated police department not only provides 24/7 policing, but also a K9 and a school resource officer. Additionally, we have an active community where people know their neighbors and look out for each other. However, as with any growing community, we have areas where we can improve. We need to take advantage of that active community as well as the police force to identify the areas of opportunity and then address them. As a Council member, my focus would be on ensuring that citizens are able to make their concerns known, and support legislative action required to implement solutions.
Talk is cheap - and that works out well for the finances of improving communication! We already have many of the tools in place to communicate, such as the Village website, live streaming of official meetings for those who cannot attend in person, our monthly printed newsletter, weekly email subscription, and text alert options. What we need to do is learn to use them better, and also talk to each other in person again. Minerva Park has a strong history of taking advantage of grants and other funding options, in addition to utilizing tax revenues. This applies to safety initiatives as well, and I expect this will continue beyond this election. Continuing to identify these opportunities will ensure that our village stays a safe community.
Our Village has already experienced huge population growth, with the new housing area as well as the two new schools. We are currently resolving issues that piled up in our more lean years, such as the Community Building remodel, storm and sanitary sewer work, reviewing how to better use our green spaces, and improving our pool. From there, we need to develop long term maintenance pans to take care of these things for the future as well. The next step for our community is adapting to this growth and change. We need to learn how to engage with this newly expanded population of residents as well as those who are joining our community through the new schools.
I am a citizen of Minerva Park, and I want to make a positive contribution to our growing community here. I have previously served as Chair of the Charter Commission for Minerva Park, which helped me become familiar with how our village government works. I am currently involved as a non-voting member of the Planning & Zoning Committee.
Mark has served on the Village of Minerva Park Council since being elected in 2019.
Mark currently serves as Council President and Legislative Committee Chair. Some of the initiatives Mark has been a part of are as follows as a member of Minerva Park Village council the last 4 years:
New Community Building
Sewer Project on Jordan
New Village Code Rewrite
Mark has been a teacher for the last 22 years and is currently a fourth-grade teacher at Westerville's McVay Elementary.
Mark graduated from Ohio State with a degree in English and Childhood Education in 1999. In addition to being a teacher, Mark is a National Education Association Delegate and active member of the Westerville Education and Central Ohio Education Associations.
In addition, Mark has volunteered with Minerva Park Community Association Family Fun Night and other events since 2016.
Mark and his wife Lesa have been Minerva Park residents since 2016 and reside on Maplewood Drive.