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Jamie Marks Erickson
Jamie Marks Erickson

Two new faces vie for DL's Ward 2

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501

Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

There are several election contests in Detroit Lakes this year.

In Ward 2, Jamie Marks Erickson and Doug Friendshuh will vie for the seat.

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Ward 2

Jamie Marks Erickson

Age: 45

Family: Husband, Dave, daughter, Mariah

Occupation: development officer, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation

Q: Why did you decide to run for city council?

I'm interested in local government and I know something about it due to my work at the newspaper 10 years ago.

We're in the middle of a period of major turnover in city leadership, so it is a good time for someone like me, with some history, to run. It gives me a chance to give something back to a community that has been good to me, and as a part-time employee I have the time required for the job.

Q: Right now, the Highway 10 and the Gateway District are high priority. What are your feelings on the project, the funding, the proposed conference center, any development on the north end of Washington Avenue, etc.?

A: I'm excited about this project. For a long time, the north side, Highway 10, the downtown retail sector and the City Park have felt like separate areas of the community, and this plan attempts to tie those areas together in a way that is beneficial for local residents, businesses and visitors.

It also addresses a topic that I'm very interested in, which is community revitalization. We need to attract investment to older areas of our community, and the downtown is one of those areas. The street-scaping will make it much easier, safer and more enjoyable for walking, and I think that will make more of a difference than we can imagine now.

There are areas of the proposal that will require private sector involvement. Those areas are The Crescent, the hotel/convention center at the base of Washington, the railroad-themed café north of the Depot and the affordable housing project in the old Washington School.

Q: Annexation. The city spent a lot of money annexing the Long Lake Area. Has the city been too aggressive in annexation, or should it continue to move forward, with areas such as Willow Springs and Floyd Lake?

A: That is a great question. In general, cities recover the initial investment through property taxes. Annexation in this area is often triggered by residents who see deteriorating water quality on their lake, or by the fact that an area is being encompassed by city growth. That is certainly the case for the areas you mentioned.

Q: Are there any other topics you would like to see the council address?

A: The other project I think will greatly benefit the city is the connection to the Heartland Trail, which will benefit the north side and help bring more activity to that part of town and to other areas as well.

The park staff and board also are looking at ways to expand the city's bike trail system overall. I think this will be a great way to attract visitors to town, it will give locals who already are biking enthusiasts a reason to stay in the area, and it will help get the rest of us out of our cars and onto our bikes. It's a great family activity for all ages.

Doug Friendshuh

Age: 57

Family: married, three grown children, 7 grandchildren

Occupation: Metal sales

Q: Why did you decide to run for city council?

A: It's my way of giving back to the community. This has been a good area. I've enjoyed it. It's my way of contributing back.

Q: Right now, the Highway 10 and the Gateway District are high priority. What are your feelings on the project, the funding, the proposed conference center, any development on the north end of Washington Avenue, etc.?

A: I don't necessarily agree the amount of money we put into Highway 10 was good resources of the state as a whole. What Detroit Lakes has done with that money and what they're doing now that it's finally coming to a conclusion, Detroit Lakes themselves has a good job with it.

As far as the convention center they're starting to talk about, it's way too soon. The initial numbers I've seen say we should proceed cautiously if at all.

Q: Annexation. The city spent a lot of money annexing the Long Lake Area. Has the city been too aggressive in annexation, or should it continue to move forward, with areas such as Willow Springs and Floyd Lake?

A: We do need to keep moving forward, but only if it's not costing our current residents money to do it. And if the area they're trying to annex want it. Now Floyd Lake, I think it is too soon to move into Floyd Lake now, but doesn't mean that five to 10 years from now won't be the right time to do it.

Long Lake, I know that was a controversial one, as a whole, I think it was a good thing that we did it because once sewer and water is in there, it is a lot better than the septic systems for the lake's sake.

Q: Are there any other topics you would like to see the council address in the near future?

A: No. I don't really have any issues with the city. I think the city and the council has been doing a good job. I'm not running because I've got issues. I just want to give them my chance to make a contribution.

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