Civic Center Opponents Win Place On Ballot

by CYNTHIA KMETT

The group of Troy residents against a potential Troy Town Center on the current Civic Center site presented the city with 3298 signatures to put a question they circulated on the ballot. Only 2920 valid signatures were required.

But if you believe you now get to vote on whether or not to develop the Troy Civic Center, that’s not what you are getting to vote on in November. The ballot question asks: “The City shall not enter into an agreement for the transfer, sale, lease, or use for more than 90 days, of any parcel of public land the whole of which is greater than two (2) Acres, except by the affirmative votes of a majority of city electors voting on the question at a general election.”

This just gives you the opportunity to vote on many things, and the Troy Town Center is just the beginning of many questions you might be asked to consider. But don’t worry about making any decisions just yet. The ballot question, should it prevail, won’t have anything for you to consider voting on until November 2019, That’s when the next city general election will be held.

The city was never selling the Civic Center, just inquiring of builders if the plan developed by Robert Gibb Associates in Birmingham was a project they would be interested in being part of. Replies from developers aren’t even due back until the end of October, so no one actually knows if anyone was interested in the development.

Some things in the Town Center plan weren’t actually things the city needed to find a developer to do. Replacing the antiquated 20-year old Family Aquatic Center can still be done. It’s city land, so council also can go ahead with plans to give the city hall a new façade, or even build a new library one day, as the Town Center plans indicate.

You’ll definitely hear more about this ballot proposal in coming days.

There are seven candidates who have tossed their hats in the ring for a chance to win a four-year term on Troy City Council. The candidates include three incumbents: Ellen Hodorek, Ed Pennington and Paul McCown. New names on the ballot are Sunil Sivaraman, David Hamilton, Mark Gunn and Kumar Giri.

Ellen Hodorek is an Investigative Analyst in corporate security for Chrysler Group LLC, supporting disability fraud. She is well-acquainted with how the city works having once served as a staff assistant in the City of Troy’s Community Affairs Department. She is Michigan State University grad (Summa Cum Laude).

Ed Pennington has lived in Troy with his family for over 15 years. He is the owner of Pennington Collision on Rochester Road, which was started by his father in 1968. Pennington believes in giving back to the community and he feels like he can do that through serving a second term on the City Council. He was appointed first in 2012 when Dane Slater was named mayor and Ed was elected in 2013.

His community involvement includes membership in Business Networking International in Troy, Business Referral Exchange in Troy, Troy Athens Band Boosters and coaching Utica YMCA football.

Paul McCown is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Dataspeed Inc. Paul is an experienced executive with a wealth of expertise across several industries. Starting in corporate finance early on in his career, Paul specialized in budget and forecast, while reporting to C-level management.

A Pepperdine University grad, he holds a BA degree in mathematics and philosophy, and a master’s in economics and public policy. He’s lived in Troy for 19 years and is married with two young children

“I grew up here, I have a strong desire to give back.” He says, “Troy is truly a remarkable city.”

Sunil Sivaraman says he is running for council because “I want to move Troy forward together. The City is getting split up right now with politics being played out in the open. I strongly believe we can all work together in a collaborative fashion. I am not here to make a name for myself, but am here to be the voice of the Citizens of Troy.

Sunil has been involved with our community in various capabilities like:

City of Troy Traffic Committee Member

City of Troy Finance Ideas Team (FIT) Member

Troy Youth Assistance (TYA) Board Member

Troy Historic Village Board Member (Trustee)

He is married with two children who are in Troy Schools, adding he is “a dad who wants to make Troy a better place tomorrow than it is today.”

David Hamilton says: Troy is my home. I grew up here. Went to school here. Met my wife here. I’ve lived here for 24 years. After last year’s election, I decided it was time to do everything I can to help our community and our city.

“I’ve worked in the automotive industry in Michigan for the last 12 years, currently as a Research Engineer at Ford.

“My job is to discover and create new ideas, with software, and with safety. Through Ford, I have 3 patents submitted to the US Patent Office.

“I want to bring this same kind of innovation to Troy’s government. We can use technology to improve communication and access to our government, cheaply, without raising taxes. I’ve done this the last 12 years, I know how Troy can do the same.

“I also know where the auto industry is heading. We need Troy to be ready for the future, by providing a city that will attract young STEM workers to make their home here, so that grandparents, parents, and children will all have a reason to stay here for generations.

Kumar Giri is Manager of Michigan Diagnostics LLC, Michigan Diagnostic Alcohol and Drug Services.

Mark Gunn is a Walsh College grad and is in the field of real estate. There will be more questions for them all as the November election nears.