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Beaver Dam election features contested race in Ward 6
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Beaver Dam election features contested race in Ward 6

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Beaver Dam Municipal Building City Hall Common Council City Council

Beaver Dam Municipal Building

A former city hall reporter is looking to sit on the Common Council after challenging the incumbent.

Incumbent Ken Anderson is looking to win a third term on the council. Dan Baulch, who works in communications for Marshfield Medical Center—Beaver Dam, is also running. Baulch previously reported for the Daily Citizen. He has not worked for the newspaper since March 2011.

The spring election for local races in Beaver Dam is scheduled for April 7. Officials urge voters to request absentee ballots so they can vote by mail and avoid appearing in public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Anderson said he would like to continue his goal of staying on top of city spending and making sure money is being spent appropriately. He also said he thinks there needs to be more transparency in city government and better communication with residents, which he says often breaks down, like on the Roosevelt Drive project.

He said he wants to keep the focus on completing road repair and other infrastructure projects and make sure they are being taken care of as much as possible.

Anderson said he thinks some city projects get taken out of proportion, like the master plan for Swan City Park. He said certain elements of the park need to be addressed, like the stagnant lagoons, aging wading pool and lack of a convenient bathroom, but that other parts of the plan are not as necessary. The city commissioned a master plan, unveiled last year, that called for officials to consider remaking Swan Park with new paths, a warming house, gardens and more in the future.

Anderson said he also thinks there was too much money spent on downtown revitalization, where there were projects like an alley reconstruction and demolition of an old dry cleaner’s for a parking lot.

“There’s good intentions to spend some money and help people out down there, but then it just gets overblown,” he said.

Anderson said the city should address other priorities but needs to stay frugal. One other focus needed, he said, is on attracting development of affordable, single-family housing.

Anderson said it was great there are several road projects planned for completion this year and that the city should continue in that direction. He proposed the city should consider doing lighter, less expensive road projects in the near future to get more done in a shorter timeframe. He said it would be a short-term solution but that the city is in dire need right now.

“We’re so far behind and the roads cost so much money if you do complete reconstruction you’re only going to be able to do a few, one, two, three roads a year,” Anderson said.

He said the city should always look at return on investment and that the city’s demolition of the old Lakeview Hospital and planned private condo development on the site is an example where the numbers work and the city will get a good return. However, he said, it doesn’t always work out that way, and the city ends up spending too much money.

Baulch said he wants to bring a spirit of leadership and collaboration to city government.

“I think we can make Beaver Dam everything we want it to be,” he said, but that officials have to work together and be positive without assuming the worst of everything.

Baulch said officials need to go out and find community partners while working with residents and local business owners and be there as a conduit to state and federal officials. He said he’s learned through his work, including at the hospital during the coronavirus epidemic, how people come together to realize one goal. As a reporter, he said he learned how to explain things well and the important of teamwork.

He said there are so many possibilities that could be on the horizon, like the Swan City Park plan, and figuring out how to fund it. He said it’s important to proactively try to find opportunities and promote growth as an ongoing goal.

“We need to be proactive and try to find ways to solve problems and find solutions and you can’t do that by saying no to everything,” he said.

Baulch said, looking around Beaver Dam, there are so many things around town that people can take for granted now, like Swan Park, Waterworks Park and the spruced up area around the dam, but that it took work from people in the past to make those things happen. He said he wants to be able to answer the question when asked “what did you do?”

Baulch said it’s important to take steps that will attract young families and new tax base and public-private partnerships while stimulating business growth, and that he doesn’t think anyone is trying to spend the city into trouble. He said he already sees proactive steps the city is taking on growth and infrastructure projects and that he’s looking ahead to how the city can attract new housing. He said it’s important to analyze each project on its economic benefits and that he wouldn’t be a rubber stamp.

The April 7 election will also feature the race for mayor of Beaver Dam and the presidential primary.

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and chiggins@wiscnews.com.

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