"I come from a proud hard working family that is no stranger to public service and I want to work for you. With 40 years of local business experience, a vast amount of community involvement, and years of government involvement, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate complicated governmental agencies, and get things done."
LET'S GET IT DONE
I have served Bellevue as Mayor since December of 2018. I have been a Real Estate Broker since 1982 and have served as a director on the Omaha Board of Realtors and the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service along with serving on many other real estate committees. I also served on the Bellevue Planning Commission, Sarpy County Personnel Policy Board, Nebraska Association of County Officials Board, and was a Sarpy County Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, I currently serve on the Metro Area Planning Agency Board, Sarpy County and Cities Waste Water Agency Board, Grow Sarpy Board, and the United Cities of Sarpy County Board. I have been an active member of the Bellevue and Sarpy County Chambers and am past Chairman of the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce. I have spent my entire adult life providing my clients and fellow residents professional services with the highest degree of integrity..
One of the things I am very well versed in is housing and the vulnerability it has, given outside forces. This past term we have worked hard to make Bellevue a friendlier place for developers to do business and it is working. We have streamlined our permits and planning processes and builders are now complimenting our services and you are seeing single family housing, townhomes, condominiums and apartments popping up in not only SID's but also inside the city on vacant lots.
There was a time when the base personnel, government contractors, public school employees, and employees of local businesses wouldn't think of moving outside of Bellevue. Over years of stagnant growth that tide has now turned and we are beginning to once again see that pride and growth return. As we continue to improve our road infrastructure, bring in additional retail options, create new job opportunities, add to our recreational areas, and improve our city finances we will continue to see positive growth.
Employment is key to making any community successful. We need to offer a wide range of both skilled and non-skilled jobs throughout our community. Bellevue is in a fantastic position to attract employers to our area with the ease of access via Kennedy Freeway, Hwy 370, and the Hwy 34/Interstate 29 connector. We also need to keep our existing workers here, create jobs for our high school graduates, and expand on our educational opportunities to help transition work forces from one skill to another. We have a diverse group of people in our community which is a great resource for employers to draw from.
During my past term we have made great strides in bringing new jobs to town, Some examples are the Physician's Mutual Marketing Branch in the old ShopKo on Galvin Road, filling the old Lockheed building on Hwy 370 that sat vacant, Marathon Ventures expansion to the north building, added more car dealers, revived World Baseball Village under new ownership by Premier Baseball Village, added many small businesses around town and there are some big time employers, and I mean BIG, in the works.
Offutt is also poised very well to attract another large tenant on the base as well. In 2020 we came very close to attracting US Space Command to Offutt with a great consortium of state, local, and philanthropic partners all working together.
Bellevue is a river town with a beautiful view - hence the name. The potential recreational uses of the river are plentiful and there needs to be attention given to developing the riverfront into everything it can be. Sure there are challenges with flooding and drought, but it's a river. That is the mystique and beauty of such a powerful body of water. Making the entrance from Olde Towne to the river more inviting will also attract people to both areas. We have a great attraction with Fontenelle Forest as well and these two resources should work hand in hand. I have encouraged private investment along the river with the private ownership of Haworth Park Camping and I work hard to help those investors be successful. Our riverfront is now becoming a destination with the enhancements that we keep adding. The plans for our new amphitheater, community center, kids park, and observation tower will be announced in 2022. Our riverfront is an awesome benefit to the citizens of Bellevue.
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE
Bellevue is a military town and we embrace that. We are fortunate to be the host city for the base and the economic impact of over 1.4 billion dollars it has on the entire metro area (http://www.offutt.af.mil/). With the base comes challenges that our city must meet on an ever-changing basis. Development around the base can be difficult but it is not impossible. We work together on the best plan that will bring success to both entities well into the future. Land owned by the base is tax exempt which impacts our local services like road maintenance, law enforcement, and other regulatory departments. There is a delicate balance between Bellevue and Offutt which we need to be very aware of when making future plans. I will aggressively advocate for development around the base while being cautious not to impair the viability of the base.
I will continue to represent our active and retired military families in order to keep Bellevue the community they want to call home.
RETAIL AND SERVICES
Given the development restrictions caused by flood plains, AICUZ (air installation compatible use zone), railroad lines, and past infrastructure planning, Bellevue retail centers are spread out over a large area with considerable distances between them. Planning for better connectivity through road design and transportation will help improve the viability of our retail and service centers. We need more retail to serve our population and keep more of our local dollars here in town. Bellevue already has some of the best restaurants in the metro-area and the services provided by other businesses are second to none.
We have worked hard to put measures in place to protect our commercially zoned properties so they are available for proper growth. Our city council, planning commission, and planning department are in sync with what our future vision is and it is paying off.
Mission Avenue was once the center of the city with a grocery store, movie theatre, shoe store, hardware store, soda fountain, city hall, and so much more. Now we find a true community center, being Olde Towne, with 10,000 residents that are underserved and needing attention. With the old city offices now demolished, we have made way for a new town center and development opportunity. This will open large area up for thousands of square feet of retail space and hundreds of apartments.
Some other items being built in the Olde Towne area are two 6 plex apartment buildings adding 12 new apartments across from Washington Park, 10 condominiums at the north end of Jefferson St, a total demo and reconstruction of the old College Apartments, a new tavern and restaurant with rooftop bar and entertainment venue on Franklin St, and several new businesses along Mission Ave.
I have and will continue to work hard to revitalize our "Main Street" and bring aboard new growth and services to an extremely underserved part of town. It is important to our city to keep that Olde Towne identity as well.
ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Given the terrain we have to work with, planning thoroughfares are not easy but we must do better. 36th street and Fort Crook road are our only through streets and they both need attention.
36th Street was this administrations top road project and it is well underway. The widening to 4 lanes south of Hwy 370 is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2022. Planning and engineering on the widening of 36th St north of Hwy 370 to Cornhusker has begun and construction will start upon completion of the south side. Once construction on the north side commences planning will begin on 36th St from Cornhusker to Harrison.
Bellevue obtained right of way access along Fort Crook Rd and can now begin improvements for existing businesses and new development. We are also working with MAPA for mass transit options along this corridor as well.
Public works is also working on plans to exit 15th Street out to the southwest from Cornhusker to 25th Street with additional planning in process to connect with Raynor Parkway in Twin Creek.
Sidewalks and pedestrian friendly improvements also need to be improved throughout the city and are going on.
If the government needs to provide anything, it is public safety. One of the biggest challenges we had as a new administration was to provide proper funding for our fire department. Years ago the city decided to move forward with a paid fire department and found it very difficult to properly fund it. I am happy to say in 3 short years we were able to fully man, equip, and fund a fulltime fire department.
Just like the fire department, the police department needs to be able to not only keep us safe but keep our firefighters and officers safe at the same time. At the beginning of my term we had a fractured police department with a lot of discontent and moral issues within the force. It was not an easy path but we dealt with the issues head on, built a trust with our new administration and found a police chief that is taking our force to a whole new level. Chief Clary has been able to hire new officers in a time when it is very difficult and not only brought our force from a low of 82 officers to 102 officers, but has made great strides to diversify it to better match our city's citizen makeup as well..
FORT CROOK ROAD CORRIDOR
This is 6 lanes of access to existing and potential business sites and a major north south connector. Over the years little if anything has been done to improve this major city asset. Businesses have struggled due to poor access with lack of median cuts, confusing and dangerous bike lanes, and a general lack of planning follow-thru. In the past 3 years we have been able to acquire the right of way access for improvements to access points for the current businesses. Further we have dusted off the old Ft Crook Road Corridor plan that has been sitting on the shelf for a decade and are revamping it to include a potential mass transit corridor. The bike lanes were removed for lack of use but mostly the dangerous design of them and potential liability.
Currently there is a project for the NW corner of Ft Crook and Cornhusker in the works. The old Southroads mall is now being used to house Omaha School classrooms for the next 10 years, Omaha built a new grade school on the west side, and businesses along the stretch seem to be doing very well.
LB 840 (http://www.bellevue.net/economic-development/lb-840-program) is an important tool that allows the city to fund for economic development in the area south of Offutt AFB, east of Kennedy Freeway, and to the rivers. The voters put this in place and agreed to allow up to $750,000 of city revenue to be placed in this fund per year. This money is proving to be very valuable as it allows us to help attract new businesses by providing utilities and roads for large and small scale companies that want to locate to this approximately 5,000 acre land mass. This area alone has the potential to add hundreds of millions of dollars to our tax base which in turn will relieve some of the burden that is placed on our residential properties let alone provide thousands of jobs.
This money has allowed us to attract several industrial prospects and we are currently working on a project that could literally bring hundreds if not thousands of high paying jobs to the area..
Quality of life is key to keeping our residents here. Our parks, sports facilities, and public pools need to be available and well maintained. This is a budgetary challenge like all others but we have been able to upgrade 2 pools, add another large top notch splash pad in SW Bellevue, upgrade Stone Croft park with an all inclusive playground, upgrade many other parks, and improve and beautify American Hero's Park. Plans for American Hero's Park and now being finalized and include a amphitheater, community center and playground.
Bellevue has over 50 parks throughout the city and our parks department is doing a fantastic job keeping them looking good.
KENNEDY FRWY/HWY 34/PLATTEVIEW RD
I consider the new Hwy 34 bridge and Kennedy Freeway expansion as a gift that most, if not all, cities in the nation would be lucky to have. We have it and we are carefully and aggressively marketing not only the Hwy 34 corridor but the Kennedy Freeway/Hwy 34 interchange as well. This interchange currently has access to utilities on much of it, and it is considered shovel ready. The corridor includes that of Platteview Road as well. Platteview Road lines up with Hwy 34 and runs from I-29 in Iowa east to Interstate 80.
3 years of work is paying off as we are currently working with developers that are interested in this interchange.
Just like in my business, I require accountability from my administration on down. The only way we can achieve anything is to expect everyone to do there job well, treat everyone with respect, have a positive "can do" attitude, and keep communications open. Our city council, mayor, and administration now works together, agree to disagree, and work towards solutions that are in the best possible interests for our community.
I know I have upset people and organizations around our community for demanding accountability from them but just know that I do it for BELLEVUE. It's not about me, it's about the people around me!
There are many things that need attention in our city that I will work very hard on to improve. As this mayoral campaign moves forward I will add additional content to this page and additional details to each category.