What to do with French Center site, aging in place, community center process: Our questions for the Merriam city council candidates

A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to submit suggestions for questions they’d like to hear the candidates running for seats on the Merriam City Council address.

Based on the input we received, we’ve developed the five-item questionnaire below and sent it out to the candidates competing in the following races:

Council Member Ward 1

  • Jason Silvers (incumbent)
  • John Canterbury

Council Member Ward 2

  • Whitney Yadrich
  • Dan Leap

Council Member Ward 3

  • Amy Carey
  • Bruce Kaldahl

Council Member Ward 4

  • Staci Chivetta
  • Bob Pape (incumbent)

We’ll be running the candidates’ responses to these items starting Monday, Oct 14.

Question 1
The city council in the coming months will have to decide on a final plan for repurposing the former Irene B. French Community Center site. What’s your vision for the site? How should the city fund a project to repurpose it?

Question 2
The process that led to the design of the new community center and the collaboration with the Johnson County Library on a new Antioch branch drew criticism from some Merriam residents, who claimed it was not transparent enough. What’s your take on the community center-library project? Are you satisfied with the process and the outcome?

Question 3
For many seniors who would like to stay in their city of residence in Johnson County – where their friends, doctors, churches, social connections are – moving options within their community cost more than their current home. How would you work to address this issue in Merriam? (This question came from the Johnson County Health Equity Network, which focuses on housing affordability, stability and safety).

Question 4
People who run for elected office often have strong views about how things ought to be — views that may differ sharply from their colleagues on the city council. What steps would you take to ensure that you have positive, productive relationships with council peers who may have different views than your own?

Question 5
What’s the top thing you’d like to be able to say about the city of Merriam four years from today that you can’t say now? Why?