For years, Ron Nelson says, he’d heard friends and neighbors encourage him to seek a seat on the Prairie Village City Council.
But a run in Ward 2 would have meant facing off against long-serving councilmembers Ruth Hopkins and Steve Noll, whom he calls friends.
“I wasn’t going to run against a friend,” he said. “With Steve saying he wasn’t going to run again, that brought about a lot more interest.”
Earlier this week, Nelson officially filed paperwork to seek the Ward 2 seat that Noll, the longest serving member of the city council, will be vacating.
Nelson has lived in Ward 2 for nearly 35 years, and has been president of the Prairie Village Homes Association for the past two. He’s served on the PVHA’s board for a decade. An attorney by trade, he runs a divorce and family law practice based at College Boulevard and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.
Nelson said that while “there’s nothing that I see going wrong with the way the city is run that I have a big passion to change,” there are opportunities for improvement in a few areas. For one, he’d like to see Prairie Village redouble efforts to improve bike- and walkability.
“I go to legal conferences all over the country and around the world, and the thing that strikes me about nearly every city I go to is how bike- and pedestrian-friendly they are,” he said. “Kansas City as a whole is pretty horrible on that front. In Prairie Village, we have bike lanes, but they haven’t been updated in 20 years.”
He also believes Prairie Village has an opportunity to improve transparency.
“I think the city should be proactive in encouraging more participation and letting people see what’s happening,” he said. “It’s hard to know what’s going on in government if people aren’t able to easily access it.”
Nelson is the only candidate filed for the Ward 2 seat at present. The filing deadline for this year’s elections is noon today.