Two candidates are vying for a seat on the Sun Prairie City Council in District 2 in the April 3 election. The term is for two years. (I) indicates incumbent.
Jonathan Freund (I)
Address: 1463 Pebblebrook Trail
Family: Married to Tara for 10 years; two sons ages 6 and 1
Job: Certified public accountant
Prior elected office: Elected to Sun Prairie City Council six times, former Sun Prairie mayor
Other public service: Dane County 911 Board, Wisconsin Emergency Interoperable Communications Board
Education: M.B.A., Edgewood College; B.S., accounting, Winona State University
Email address: email@example.com
Address: 819 North St.
Family: Husband Jonathan; children Anna, 7, and Julia, 4
Job: Year-round employee at Door Creek Orchard
Prior elected office: Northside Elementary School Community Organization president
Other public service: Sun Prairie Comprehensive Planning Committee; Girl Scout Troop 7858 co-leader; master gardener volunteer; Sun Prairie Library volunteer; Northside Elementary School Garden Club adviser
Education: UW-Platteville, bachelor of arts in criminal justice and psychology, 2004
List three of your top priorities.
Freund: Public Safety: Specifically expanding Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire’s staffing at the Westside Station and building on efficiencies we have created in recent years. Economic development: We are finally getting some traction on mid-Main Street redevelopment and expansion of higher-paying jobs in our business park. Fiscal responsibility: Sun Prairie has had tremendous growth in its operating budget in recent years that relies on significant growth in the tax base. This pace of spending isn’t sustainable particularly in the face of economic headwinds.
Stevens: Promote smart, sustainable city and business growth with alternative transportation options in Sun Prairie. Support and improve the high levels of municipal services we expect from Sun Prairie to keep it a great place to live. Represent a strong parent-family voice on City Council.
If you could reverse one city action, what would that be?
Freund: The city’s sidewalk policy. While it is important to include sidewalks in many street projects on major thoroughfares and new neighborhoods, we need to re-examine this policy in older neighborhoods and on lesser-traveled roads like dead ends, cul-de-sacs and streets where we have insufficient right-of-way because they lead to removal of mature trees and snow-removal challenges. We need to consider no sidewalks on cul-de-sacs and limiting sidewalks to one side of the street in many areas.
Stevens: I have great concerns that the City Council recently facilitated the sale of a very large parcel of land to a developer on a main corridor without knowledge of which large-box retailer the land was being secured for. My concern is that the arrival of certain retailers may over-saturate the market and have a negative impact on existing businesses. Sun Prairie needs to continue to draw a variety of small and medium-sized businesses to fill black-out stores and “brown” zones in commercial areas, and related decisions need to be made carefully to avoid creating a larger problem.
How would you change the way the city handles development?
Freund: Many on the council and specifically the mayor would put apartments on every street corner. I believe this creates an incredible stress on city and school services. We need to focus development on business growth and examine how we make single-family home development more affordable in the city, which will lead to a more stable and business-focused tax base. The apartment bubble will burst and lead to long-term public safety challenges when occupancy rates and rents drop as owners vie to fill the over-saturation of apartments.
Stevens: I would like to see the Sun Prairie Plan Commission form an architectural review board to look at large development plans being submitted to the city for approval, specifically for the redevelopment areas along Main Street. The Main Street corridor lacks continuity, and this area in particular should appear cohesive in design among various developers. Main Street should be well-planned and thoughtfully developed. It’s prudent to set and adhere to standards now so new developers understand Sun Prairie’s vision and aesthetics. Furthermore, as the city develops new sections along Main Street, alternative transportation considerations are needed such as a park-and-ride located near Highway 151 and connection of bicycle lanes and routes for a continuous bicycle system.