October 31, 2014

New Turner village council aims for revitalization

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TURNER — After an election where only one person ran for office, the Turner village council is now fully formed and ready for business.

Village President Justine McGraw ran unopposed for her seat, which was left open following long-time Village President Charles Deremer’s retirement, but the rest of the council’s seats were left unfilled. McGraw said she appointed people to each of the open seats Jan. 7, and they were sworn into office by County Clerk Rick Rockwell.

“I had to have Rick Rockwell help me appoint people, since we didn’t have a clerk. You have to have a certified clerk to make it legal,” she said. “So he swore them in.”

The village’s treasurer is now Gary Bates, its clerk is Amanda Bellinger, and its trustees are Al Miracle, Jody Aikens, Dolly Gagnon, Eric Blanchard, and Steve Bellinger. McGraw said everyone on the board is new, so they are still learning the ropes, but she added they have some big goals in mind.

She said the village’s top priority right now is safety issues. The council wants to see about fixing large cracks in the sidewalk to prevent people from tripping and getting hurt, and it also wants to see the abandoned buildings in the village cleaned up. After that, she said they want to see more beautification efforts in the village.

A long-term goal that McGraw acknowledged will likely require her running for office again is to grow the village.

“We want businesses here again like we used to have,” she said. “We want the revenue to get the town looking nice again, and we’re all pretty much on board with that.”

She said she had heard that the village used to get more traffic and visitors, and had more businesses and residents. Some of her ideas include improving the village’s playground through donations to make the village more kid-friendly, and holding a big town gathering in the summer so all the residents can mingle.

“That’s all we’ve talked about so far — coming together as a town again and making it how it used to be,” she said. “I know it’s been one month, but so far we’re getting along, and we’re all on the same page.”

“We want to get it back to when Turner was at its highest peak,” McGraw said.

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