Editor’s note: Each candidate for 4th Ward Urbana City Council seat on the May 3 ballot was invited by the Urbana Daily Citizen to participate in a survey. The candidates are Holly Curnutte and Stephanie Truelove.
Name: Holly Curnutte
Address: 1549 Grimes Circle, Urbana
Qualifications: I’m a life-long resident of Urbana and have lived in the fourth ward since 2012. My family has a long history of public service for our community; my grandfather, father and husband have all served the citizens of Urbana as firefighters. I learned at an early age how important it is to be a productive member of the community; my family involvement as public servants has taught me that we are stronger as a city when we work together and that we need to take care of the people who take care of us. Therefore, I believe that empathy towards Ward 4 concerns and understanding of what it means to serve our community has my highest qualifications. Additionally, I am a graduate of Urbana High School. I currently work for a leading State Farm insurance agency in Hilliard. As an agent, I have a long history of helping others. This career has allowed me to be of service to many, assisting them with all of their needs. I have grown to be a trustworthy pillar for those on their worst days.
Question: What is the biggest challenge facing Urbana in the next 2 years?
The biggest challenge in the next two years and beyond is responsibly taking care of and replacing our aging infrastructure while managing growth and opportunity that is presented to our community. I will work responsibly in developing a strategic plan that involves each of our divisions of the city. I strongly believe, as a city, we are better when all wards and city divisions are equally represented and representatives from each work to highlight their strengths and address their concerns together. My vision is to bring to the council the strengths and concerns of Ward 4 and incorporate them in a strategic plan that will benefit all citizens of Urbana. Part of our strategic plan will be built from the best practices from other communities. I’m a firm believer we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but may need to adapt best practices from other communities to apply them to Urbana’s concerns and opportunities. Specific in the plan would be identifying and replacing Ward 4 critical infrastructure before it breaks and working with our stakeholders to develop opportunities north of the city.
Question: What makes Urbana a special place to live?
Our history and people make Urbana a special place. Moreover, much of our community have a connection to the past. It is a multi-generational connection and the values that people pass on to the next that make it why I live in Urbana and dedicate myself in public service to preserving the past while building on the future. We have an excellent community that you feel safe in and one that you’re not afraid to talk to your neighbor or someone you pass along the street. If I’m elected on council I will preserve the past, promote our values, and build upon what has made Urbana great. I will work towards multiple level entry points to new housing that can keep the next generation here and also allow people to stay here with multi-step-up housing. I will also work on a planned and controlled growth that will allow people to make a fair wage in a community they live in. The bottom line is a great community like Urbana is one that is cohesive, safe, prosperous, and a place where people want to live and work.
Question: How important is expansion of affordable housing opportunities in Urbana?
Urbana is much more than just a place or destination, it is a community that is built upon through multigenerational families and a citizenry that helps each other and is proud of where they live. If I’m elected to council I would like to work with our community partners in developing and executing a plan of multiple levels of affordable housing. The plan would include entry points for the next generation to stay, a young couple to move to, and a family to step up into a bigger home. The plan would also address the need for easy and affordable ways for community members to fix up their existing homes through items such as matching grants for home improvement. Most of all, I would find ways to involve the community to have input in the process of making their community better. Urbana is a great place to live and work; anything we do as far as growth needs to preserve and celebrate what has made us great, address multiple levels of community needs, and be able to expand for future growth. Most of all, the plan should be developed through community input.