To the Editor:
I believe Mayor Forthofer is honest and has worked hard. He states that he will listen to anyone. My concern is that he listens, but often doesn't truly consider alternative views. I offer two examples. First consider the Fulper lot. A very generous citizen offered the city $250,000 to build an art park. The mayor preferred to spend $200,000 of the citizen's tax money on a rectangle of asphalt. A parking lot is not an attraction and does nothing to entice tourists to come to Vermilion, as opposed to Huron, for example, and doesn't keep people in town to shop and eat once they're here. The mayor stated that business owners favored parking, and of course, they did. If you offer a business a parking lot they don't have to pay to build or maintain, why would they say no? That doesn't make it the best use of the land. The $200,000 spent on the lot could have been spent on roads or needed infrastructure, like the water plant. Turning down a donation of a quarter of a million dollars in favor of an asphalt rectangle, seems ill considered.
A second example is the Wakefield mansion. A large group of citizens formed a committee dedicated to saving a part of Vermilion's history. The mayor listened to them but seemed determined to go in another direction without giving these citizens as much opportunity as possible. The result is that the mansion is gone, and we have a hill...with grass on it. Now the master plan for the Main Street Beach is coming, and I hope it's wonderful. And the mansion had problems we all know about. But what would it have hurt to delay demolition until spring giving the committee more time to try to secure funding? If successful, Vermilion citizens would have had an alternative to demolition to consider. If funding couldn't be raised, the building could have been razed in May. Nothing is being done on the property this fall or winter. It's a hill...with grass on it. Giving the citizens you serve adequate time to present alternatives doesn't seem unreasonable.
Jerry Kyle is a listener, who truly hears and understands. He grew up as part of a family owned car dealership that survived for decades when car manufacturers wanted dealerships to be million dollar facilities with acres of cars located on a major highway. They survived by hearing their customers’ needs, helping them find the ideal vehicle at a fair price and giving excellent service with loaner cars provided. Jerry has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, is an experienced contract negotiator, and knowledgeable in human resource management. He understands the Vermilion business climate and is one of the most honest men I know. He will be a mayor who listens and truly hears our citizens and is willing to consider alternative points of view. If given your vote, he will make a truly excellent mayor of Vermilion.
Steven R. Schauer