WAITE PARK -- Voters in Waite Park will have three names to choose from for two open seats on the city council.

Shawn Blackburn and incumbents Mike Linquist and Ken Schmitt are on the November ballot.

Ken Schmitt

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)

Schmitt is a 40 year resident of Waite Park and has dedicated many years to his community. From his time working with the boy scouts, leading the annual Spass Tag festival, to serving on the park board and planning commission. Schmitt says he's running for reelection because he wants to continue to see the city grow.

A lot of it has to do with the amenities the city has put forward, like the Health Living Trail and park system. We've always been looking out what's best for the citizens and being responsible with the budget to make sure we don't have any excess in taxes.

Schmitt says he would also like to see the city complete the improvements to River's Edge Park as well as put more emphasis on maintaining the city's streets.

Shawn Blackburn

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)

Blackburn is a 10-year resident of Waite Park and has previously run for city council in the past. He says despite coming up short in past elections, it hasn't stopped him from getting involved. Blackburn says he's sense been serving on several Stearns County boards and the Waite Park planning commission, which he feels has been valuable experience.

It's helped me, along with all my Stearns County organizations, to understand the process and how we go about things. I've learned how to look at cases, do research and make informed decisions about each property, application or variance request.

Blackburn says he would like to help drive more business development in Waite Park, which in return would bring more jobs and residential growth.

Mike Linquist

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)

Linquist has lived in Waite Park since 1973 and has been on the council for 22 years. He enjoys having an active role in his the community, which is why he decided to seek reelection. He says with the recent growth and development over the last few years, one of his goals is to update the city's comprehensive plan.

That needs to be redone. We need to get it on paper so people can come in and develop, the citizens know where our boundaries are, and expand our business and residential areas. It's important that the business and residential communities get together to help set the next 20 years.

Linquist says he would also like to see more affordable senior housing in Waite Park.

Council members are elected to four year terms and Election Day is on November 3rd.

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