Final council meeting for Kevin Beard and Victor Loomis

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By Lilli Khatibi
East Lansing staff writer

The 2013 City Council met one last time Wednesday, Nov. 6, before the newly elected members take over for the next term.

The meeting ran as usual, but with the ever-present tone that it was the last for two of the councilmembers – Kevin Beard and Victor Loomis.

Loomis was noticeably missing, and when asked why, Mayor Diane Goddeeris said he was at an event honoring his daughter.

Members of the council, including Mayor Goddeeris, Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett, councilmember Kathleen Boyle and City Manager George Lahanes all gave their best wishes and congratulations towards Beard and Loomis.

“Loomis dedicated 12 years to this council and his expertise was instrumental in many of the decisions made by council. Twelve years is a long time to serve and in them, he passed on the history of the community to me, which ended up helping me make decisions as a councilmember,” said Goddeeris.

Triplett said he would miss Beard.

“I’ve always considered Kevin somewhat of a model city councilmember. Kevin is someone who recognizes the importance of communicating openly. He thinks about things carefully and is willing to listen to people with divergent opinions. He engaged so much with the neighborhoods and it was extremely valuable for me to have his wisdom and insight while I was on council,” said Triplett.

What plan does Beard have?

“Contrary to what you read in the State News, I’m not going back to work for General Motors,” said Beard. “I’m wrapping up my graduate degree in human resources and labor relations, and essentially I’ll be going into private consulting with business and labor.”

When asked what challenges the new council would face, Beard said they are the same as previous councils have faced.

“East Lansing is the center of the universe. There are a lot people who want to put their money in the ground here. There are pressures to develop and redevelop, and doing that smartly is going to be the challenge,” said Beard.

When asked what challenges the new council would face, Beard said they are the same as previous councils have faced.

“East Lansing is the center of the universe. There are a lot people who want to put their money in the ground here. There are pressures to develop and redevelop, and doing that smartly is going to be the challenge,” said Beard.

Beard also said the new council will need to address the diversity the East Lansing community maintains.

“We need to acknowledge that we have a much broader demographic than just a student population to deal with. Those are the challenges and they are perennial challenges and I don’t see that being any different,” said Beard.

Beard said the only thing different would be the combination of experience and backgrounds that the new council maintains.

When asked if he was confident in the new council, Beard replied, “I have no reason not to be.”

“They’ve been involved in a variety of activities and in their neighborhoods across the community and generally, East Lansing voters elect people that have some kind of track record of service in the community. I think both Beyer and Woods meet that criteria,” said Beard.

Kathleen Boyle, who was re-elected for another term, said the new council faces two big challenges.

“One of them is the update on the comprehensive plan. The plan is several years old, so that’s a big task. It’s a bunch of steering committees that are made up of staff, council, and community members, and other stakeholders, so that’s the biggest project right there,” said Boyle.

Boyle said the next challenge would be the property on the corner of Albert St. and Abbott Road.

“The property was supposed to be called City Center Two, but part of the property is privately owned, while the other part is controlled by the Downtown Development Authority and the city,” said Boyle.

Boyle said the city has entered into an agreement with a developer to come up with a plan for the property, but ideas are slim.
“The problem now lies in what to do with the property that would make it economically feasible and serve the community’s needs,” said Boyle.

Boyle said she’s an eternal optimist and is confident the new council will be able to attack these two challenges.

The new council will meet for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

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