Incumbent candidates Dennis Scott and Bob Monetza will face off against newcomer Henry Reyenga. Here is how the candidates stack up on some of the more pressing issues facing the city.
1.) What do you think is the most important issue in Grand Haven?
Monetza: “Changes at the north end of the city from the stalled Grand Landing project, MDOT’s plans for North Beacon Boulevard, and redevelopment in the older industrial sites at the north end of Beechtree Street must be high on our priorities.”
Reyenga: “With a fresh set of eyes, I think we could do a comprehensive safe streets plan. I like the whole concept of a walking, biking and green community.”
Scott: “Probably the U.S. 31 issue and taking that boulevard out is the No. 1 issue.”
2.) What do you think needs to be done about deer in the city?
Monetza: “So long as we are blessed with waterways, parklands and woods within the city, we will have urban wildlife, including deer. It is a part of our landscape. …Whatever management measures the city may choose to adopt regarding the urban deer population, we will be more effective and credible with good data about the deer.”
Reyenga: “We need to be stewards of God’s creatures to keep them in the necessary balance. …We need to cull the deer out when it’s appropriate.”
Scott: “I am not opposed to doing a study, as I think if we can get more facts that is fine. But I think there’s going to be a time where we need to do something.”
3.) Do you think that the two sides of town are divided and need to be more connected?
Monetza: “I think that we are too small of a town to be divided, and we are all in this together, so we are better off looking at what we have in common.”
Reyenga: “The quality of life on the east side is as important as the quality of life on the west side. We’re all paying the same taxes … I’d like to make every part of Grand Haven the ‘right side of the tracks.’”
Scott: “I worked for the city for 36 years and I’ve never looked at it as east and west. When we’re looking at infrastructure projects, we should be planning projects that need it most.”
4.) What needs to be done out at the Grand Landing site?
Monetza: “Grand Landing needs to be a high-quality development; an appealing place which flatters and complements the city. It is too prominent to be languishing. It is also costly for the taxpayers while we wait for additional investment to raise the taxable value to absorb the debt payments.”
Reyenga: “I think the city administration is making lemonade out of lemons out there. Before I was here, they cleaned up a really messy area there. …I think we are going to have to be patient and wait and see how that plays out.”
Scott: “The city of Grand Haven has money in this project. It shouldn’t be an eyesore and something that the people don’t want.”
5.) What are your thoughts on the plans to make U.S. 31 wider?
Monetza: “I think that the additional lanes are not a proven need, and they won’t do much good if they are constructed. They will damage the aesthetics of the city, turning U.S. 31 into a barren, forbidding, asphalt runway, which will invite no one to linger in town.”
Reyenga: “I want to make sure U.S. 31 is always looked at as not dividing our community. I’d like to think that our executive leadership would come up with ideas and solutions because we’d all be better for it.”
Scott: “I think we need to wait until the M-231 bypass is completely done (to evaluate the decision).”
6.) What are your thoughts on the infrastructure bond proposal and the future needs?
Monetza: “I support the bond proposal. It is the city’s responsibility to take care of business, manage its finances responsibly, and keep its public assets in good repair. Quality infrastructure is an essential element in economic prosperity and quality of life, which many other communities are not addressing.”
Reyenga: “I am for the bond issue because at the end of the day, our infrastructure is for the future. We are a town that’s been around since 1834, so we have to pay attention to our infrastructure or our town will slip. …We can create all of these icons, but if your infrastructure isn’t upgraded, then too bad.”
Scott: “I don’t think we should ask for an extra mill from the taxpayers. Grand Haven is not going to fall apart if we don’t pass this.”