Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mayor wants to earn another 4-year term

January 27, 2005

Kenneth Bernard has been mayor of the city of Lansing for 20 years, but he still has some business he'd like to finish.

That's why Bernard, a retired Army major, is seeking another four-year term as mayor. He'll square off against Lansing City Council member Harland Russell in the April 5 election.

"I'd like to continue to work on the development of our commercial and industrial areas," Bernard said in a recent interview.

Near the top of the list is the Towne Center development, between 4-H Road and West Mary Street along the west side of Kansas Highway 7. The center is envisioned as the city's central business district, a replacement for a downtown that was destroyed years ago with the widening of K-7.

"We've got a good City Council and a good staff," Bernard said. "I think with all of us working together the next four years, we can complete the downtown area."

Bernard's tenure with the city has been nearly a constant since he first was seated on the City Council in 1979. In 1983, he was appointed mayor, an office he held until 1991 when he decided not to seek re-election. After a two-year hiatus, he decided to seek the mayor's post again in 1993. He won, and voters have returned him to office each election since.

He said he expected several announcements by commercial businesses coming to the city. He's hoping for the same from industries interested in locating in the industrial parks on the city's southern end.

Though economic development is high on Bernard's list, it's not the only entry. He talks about several projects he'd like to see through to fruition:

¢ A new or expanded Lansing Community Library. "There's a great need to expand the library facility," he said. "Whether that's in the form of a new building, that's a decision that will be made in the immediate future by the City Council."

¢ Expanded Lansing Historical Museum. "I would like to see the addition of the prison portion of the museum to the existing railroad museum," he said. "When this is brought about, we will have a great museum with the Historical Society and the city staff working together."

¢ Infrastructure. Bernard noted the city's stated priorities for any money coming from renewal of the 1 percent countywide sales tax included improvements to De Soto Road and Gilman Road. In addition, he said he was happy the new wastewater treatment plant was on schedule for a dedication this spring. "It will pave the way for continuing development up to approximately 25,000 residents," he said.

¢ Parks and Recreation. Bernard would also like to see the expansion of the city parks. The council has purchased some new land and will greatly expand the park system and the trail system in the near future.


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