Spring Lake Park City Council has a new member. Well, sort of. Bob Nelson returned to the council after being sworn in Jan. 7.
While he had a bit of a gap between terms, this will be Nelson’s second council term. Nelson was a council member from 2001-2004 and the city’s mayor from 2007-2010.
“I am glad to be elected and happy to be back on the council,” Nelson said.
“I am looking forward to participating and being a voice for the people again.”
He has missed being with people and learning in what direction the residents want the city go, Nelson said.
The community sets the vision of the city that the council tries to follow, he said.
Because he has been on the council in the past, Nelson said he will not have to do the homework other new council members would have to do.
“I know the people, trust the staff and can work with the council,” he said.
“Everything is pretty much the same.”
There are several projects that Nelson said he left unfinished when he left as mayor in 2009.
He would like the city to revisit how it does street assessments and to do some improvements to the parks, according to Nelson.
Nelson said he would like to see the Parks and Recreation Department do more, perhaps enlarging the skate board park.
By eliminating either the neighboring tennis courts and basketball court, based on use, the department could expand the skate board park, he said.
If the tennis court or basketball court is not being used, the expansion can serve a greater number of kids, Nelson said.
Nelson would also reprise his role as the city’s lobbyist at the state capitol.
“I am looking forward to getting back to the state capitol to lobby for the return of the city’s Homestead Value Credit,” he said.
It was devastating for the city when the Legislature took that away and it caused higher taxes for the residents, Nelson said.
“It should have never been taken away,” he said.
With the state’s projected $1.1 billion deficit, it may be hard to achieve, but it is imperative that the Legislature know the impact on the cities, according to Nelson.
As a council member, Nelson said he will be working to loosen the city building codes.
The restrictions on garage size inconveniences residents, he said.
Allowing larger garages will bring in more revenue to the city and make people want to stay here longer, Nelson said.
Changing the ordinance will allow the city to offer more life cycle housing, rather than just starter homes, he said.
Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]