Voters in Ward 5 will choose at the ballot on Nov. 5 between two candidates.
Councilwoman Nancy E. Meany, who serves as vice mayor and is seeking her third term of office, is being challenged by Peter Shanes, a city resident for the past 26 years. Mrs. Meany and Mr. Shanes were the top vote-getters in a primary on Sept. 10. Newcomer David Vitale had also been in the running.
Mrs. Meany, 64, said she has enjoyed her time on council, interacting with her constituents and working on various projects in her ward and citywide.
“My motivation is for Solon,” Mrs. Meany said of why she is seeking another term. “I love this town.”
A lifelong city resident, Mrs. Meany, who chairs City Council’s finance committee and sits on Public Works, said she spoke to residents in her ward on the campaign trail about various issues, including the extension of sidewalks, as well as discussing zoning matters on the ballot.
“I enjoy talking to my residents and interacting with them,” Mrs. Meany, said. “I have great residents. I find my ward to be a great mix of people.”
Mr. Shanes, 60, said his background in accounting, finance and real estate are among the reasons people should vote for him Nov. 5. He ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 5 seat in 2003 against David Krus. Mr. Krus served nearly 14 years on City Council.
“I am the person to move this city forward,” he said, “I’ve got proven leadership skills and I am a very sound and thoughtful decision maker.”
Mr. Shanes, who has a home-based commercial real estate management and accounting firm, Erin Management, said he has concerns about the city’s budget.
“While the economy is very solid now, it will ultimately take a natural downturn, and I’m concerned about those headwinds,” Mr. Shanes, who holds a master’s degree in accounting from Cleveland State University, said. “I want to start planning now. We need planning and real leadership.”
Mrs. Meany, who also serves as council representative to the Solon Senior Center, said if re-elected, she would continue to work out something with the owner of the Hawthorn Valley Country Club. Her choice is to keep the majority of it green space, even if they choose to make a small piece residential.
“Through these last couple of years, I have had on and off conversations with the property owner,” she said. “Hopefully we can get something worked out” that can be similar to how Acacia is laid out in the Metroparks.
Mrs. Meany said there is still much to do in the city and she wants to be part of moving it forward.
Both candidates shared their views on Issue 65, a mixed use zoning district planned for the former Liberty Ford site and surrounding area that is also on the Nov. 5 ballot.
“I’m a no on the issue,” Mr. Shanes said. That is primarily due to the residential component, he said, which has a cap of 200 units.
“I do not believe that particular project is a good fit for the area,” he said. Mr. Shanes said while you cannot turn back in time, Liberty Ford should never have left the city.
“They were poised to put a brand new building there,” he said of the dealership that left for the city of Aurora. “I think that type of use is good there.
“I’m pro-development,” Mr. Shanes added, “however, when appropriate.”
Mrs. Meany, a 1973 graduate of Solon High School who is retired from the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court and works part-time at Chicago Deli, said she is in favor of the rezoning, including the residential component.
“Every mixed use has that in it,” she said of residential. Mrs. Meany gave an example of Pinecrest in Orange Village and Crocker Park in Westlake, both of which have a residential component along with stores and restaurants.
She also noted that the city retains control of that.
“You have to look at the language in there,” she said of the zoning.
Mr. Shanes said if elected, he would like to serve on the Finance Committee. Initially, he would want to look at what is outdated signage on Route 422 relative to truck traffic, as well as to ensure the safety services are appropriately set up, especially in light of the Omni senior housing project being built.
Mrs. Meany said she brings a great level of respect to the seat and does not bad mouth others. “I respect the people I am up there with,” she said of the dais, including the mayor and department heads.
During her tenure on council, she has worked on numerous projects in which she takes pride, including Nestlé’s research and development facility on Cannon Road in Ward 5.
She worked diligently with Nestlé to lessen the impact on residents in the area, she said.
“I’m very proud of that,” Mrs. Meany said. She also takes pride in her work as an advocate for the Solon Senior Center, and works to address the needs of residents engaging in the activities and using the services. She considers herself a fiscally conservative council person.
“If you look back on my history, I’m always questioning,” she said of how tax payer’s dollars are spent.
Mr. Shanes said that, while City Council is a part-time position, it needs “full-time thinking.
“I am the best choice for the ward and the city,” Mr. Shanes said.
“I see the city moving forward, and I would like to be part of that,” Mrs. Meany added.