Judy Clark

Judy Clark
The Plain Talk asked the five candidates in the upcoming Vermillion city election about their views on several city issues. Vermillion citizens will choose a mayor and one city council member from the Southeast Ward.

Southeast Ward

Judy Clark


Age: 63

Family: Husband Dean, four children and two grandkids

Occupation: Volunteer � president of Vermillion Beautiful, and other organizations

1. I would like to see city government become more open, efficient and effective. If elected, I would vote to eliminate the Monday noon meetings. I do not believe these meetings to discuss the agenda are conducive to open government and public information. I believe hard questions should be asked where everyone can hear and comment.

I want to see Vermillion have an excellent quality of life for all residents, and present an attractive and welcoming face to visitors. Public amenities like parks, hike/bike paths, historic sites and museums, and beautiful and lively commercial areas are what attract new families and jobs.

I think I can help achieve this because I have experience working with volunteers and government entities in setting and achieving goals. I have done this as: founder and president of Vermillion Beautiful; Vermillion Planning Commission member for seven years; Vermillion Streetscape Committee member; SESDAC Board member for six years; SD state legislator for four years; and collage concentrations in urban planning, historic preservation and horticulture; plus working with many volunteer groups.

I have worked as an employee of local government. I know the challenge of balancing limited resources with the desire for a better community. That experience has shown me that the way to excellence is by working to give city employees, volunteers and elected officials a stake in the goal of a better Vermillion.

2. As a member of both the original streetscape committee and the streetscape implementation committee, I think that while we have accomplished a few of the goals (those charming benches and much-needed trash containers), we do have a long way to go. Right now we are working with the city on getting two new bike racks installed. I hope that our tentative plans for hanging flower baskets will be realized, as that would make a beautiful and striking addition to Main Street. While we do have a generous federal grant, red tape is holding up spending it, and so implementation of a planned pocket park may be years away.

I would like to see the plan changed to include smaller bump-outs so that no parking spaces are lost; to level sidewalks so that outdoor tables and chairs could put out in front of restaurants; and to see historic light poles installed as a top priority. For an efficient use of resources, all these could be done as one project. We also need to be sure city regulations have been refined to allow tables, chairs and planters, within reason, on public sidewalks for outdoor cafes.

3. Mediacom's hold over Vermillion is a result of no competition. I suggest we should: research our legal options for withdrawing from the Mediacom contract, and actively search for other cable companies and take actions that make the Vermillion market attractive to those companies.

4. At the time the developer approached those of us on the Planning Commission about approving his Planned Unit Development (PUD) below the bluff, it was clear that the Crawford Road extension had been lost in controversy for a long time. Because of the controversy, it was also clear, as I warned at that hearing, that its fate would be a political decision in the end. It is "political" in that finally, and properly, it is a decision that should be made by elected officials or the voters, not appointed commissioners or city staff. This extension has been on, and then off, and on the plan for forty years. It's obvious that because of this uncertainty, the neighborhood was allowed to grow up around the space. I do not believe that after all these years it is fair now to undo the amenity and safety of one neighborhood, for the benefit of another. And for the benefit of a development, where in fact, some of the homeowners there do not wish to have traffic whizzing through their new neighborhood either. And finally, the transportation value of the extension is limited.

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