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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
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October 22, 2009     Cheney Free Press
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October 22, 2009
 

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Thursday, October 22, 2009 Free Press Page 11 continued from page 1 centered on growth and plans for the future of the community. The candidates agreed that growth is good for the city, but their views on regulation and different types of development differed. "We have to have the growth; we can never go back," Webster said. "But we have to do it within certain guidelines." He said that some things needed to be preserved to keep the small- town feel in the community. "There's a lot of tradition, there' s a lot of history here in the city of Cheney," he said. He also cited his experience on the planning com- mission and said recent residential growthhas brought too many apart- ment complexes to the city, and that some zonmg needs to be changed. Pollard said the city needed to manage growth without limiting it. He said the recently completed industrial park has potential to help the city. "This park is likely to marry business and education together and create job opportunities and bring much-needed resources financially into the community here," he said. Warren said she noticed a reduc- tion in businesses when she moved back to Cheney, and said this trend needs to be changed. "So wheh I think about growth I think about growth not only for business, but I think about growth as far as marketing, I think about growth in education, I think about growth in everything," she said. "And I just think that we will not become Spokane Valley or Liberty Lake because we are just so unique and we have traditions, which we need to honor." Webster and Pollard differed on a question about the strength of the relationship between Cheney and the West Plains Chamber of Commerce. Webster said he has not seen many benefits from the city's involvement, but Pollard said the relationship was important, and that Cheney should consider forming it's own chamber to enhance business in the community. Webster expressed frustration about what he considered a lack of marketing materials to attract busi- nesses to Cheney. "It's Pretty difficult to sell the dty or the assets of the dty when you don't have something tangible that you can show someone," he said. Poflard countered that he took fliers printed by the city to Califor- nia, where he distributed them to CEOs and business owners. He said he has been working to establish a chamber for Cheney. "There needs to be a group of people coming together to form the community chamber and go forward into the world and then let the world know,;' he said. The candidates all expressed their support for Choices for Cheney, the city' s comprehensive plan rewrite process. A question on dealing with developers prompted them to dimass their vision for Cheney's future. An audience member asked whether the city should require developers show a community need for their project. Warren said she would like to see the developer's resume and ask them questions before allowing a building project. "Are you here just to make money? Are we just another project? Are you really looking at our city, our zoning, our future, and making a wise decision?" she said. Pollard said the city should utilize the comprehensive plan as a guide for dealing with developers. "We as a city should reward developers, whether they' re in town or out of town, that follow the camp plan and give the community what they want," he said. management plan-which is being Webster again brought up his worked on at the present, and it concern about the city' s zoning, meets the needs of the community as "My biggest concern with the weft as the developer," he said. development going to the north side, One question asked for a solu- is that more apartments are going to tion to the problem of EWU stu- go up on land that's already zoned dents utilizing free parking near for apartments," he said, adding that downtown. thezoningwasdoneyearsagoandis Warren said she would brain- now creating problems for the city. storm solutions with other city of- Photo by Becky Thomas City Council Position 1 candidate Kathleen Warren speaks to the audi- ence as Position 3 candidates Graeme Webster and Fred Pollard look on at the Cheney Free Press Candidates' Forum Oct. 14. He also pointed to the compre- ficials and look at past attempts to hensive plan to direct development, handle the parking issue. "We do have a responsibility as Pollard said he'd like to explore a city to ensure that whatever type the possibility of removing the of development they put in, it's in islands on some side streets down- keeping with the overall goal of the town and implementing angled comprehensive plan- the growth parking for more space. "There's an opportunity to find a property owner who would negoti- ate doing a perrnanent parking back there in those dirt areas (between First Street businesses and the rail- road tracks)," he added. Webster didn't consider the parking issue to be a problem. "Let's be realistic here. The down- town core is not that large. So you have to walk a block away; it's good exercise," he said. "Really, it is a non- issue, people. Non-issue. Let's be realistic. If you can't walk a block, you need to get on a fitness program." On the topic of the upcoming $5 million bond for a new park, Pol- lard and Webster expressed their support of the bond, but Warren had concerns. "I guess my concern is the avail- ability of transportation to the park and whether all the needs of the com- munity are being met," she said. After closing remarks from the council candidates, mayor candi- dates Allan Gainer and Tom Trulove took the stage. Gainer, the incumbent, said he wanted to keep the job because there's more work to be done. Tru- love, former mayor and current Councilman, said he would bring a new leadership style to the mayor's office, which he said would include "much more hands-on leadership." The candidates didn't differ much on the issues: both said the supported balanced growth, specifically bring- ing new industries into the new in- dustrial park; both said the city needs to help community agendes like the food bank and the museumthatwere displaced after the collapse of the Wren Pierson building last winter; both said Cheney should have its own chamber of commerce. Trulove and Gainer disagreed on downtown revitalization, though. Gainer, who is co-chair of the Cheney Merchants Association and the owner of a downtown business, said the city could do more to.sup- port a healthy downtown. Gainer cited things the city has done downtown already, like in- stalling benches and new lighting. "I think we need to take it another step further," he said. "I think the city should help out in forming our chamber." Trulove said the city has worked over the years to revitalize down- town, including seeking grants to plant trees installing bricks and other architectural features to make the area attractive and supporting projects like Pathways to Progress. "When you look at the results of that, what the city has done in terms of Pathways and some of the other things, I don't see much of a return on the investment," he said. "The number of vacant buildings is about the same as it wasbefore. I don't see, in many cases, much investment on improving the exteriors that exist." Trulove agreed the city need- ed a chamber of commerce, but said it should not come from city government, but from business owners and citizens. When asked how they would make time for the duties of mayor, Gainer said he worked to surround himself with competent city em- ployees. He admitted, though, that being a business owner and raising a family can be hard to balance with his city responsibilities. 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