Seymour Council election – Kendra Zumhingst

Why did you decide to run for office?

I am actively involved in my community and believe that this is the next step to be able to bridge the gap from young leadership in the community to be able to work on implementing the ideas that will get Seymour where it could be in 2025.

What are the three biggest issues the city faces now and in the future? And how would you help address those issues.

Funding: Always expected to do more with less. People want services yet do not understand that they have to be paid for.

Attracting new businesses to Seymour based on current size numbers: By looking at expanding city limits to encompass more housing units to include occupants in the count.

Perception: Simply by communicating more.

The railroad has been a big topic for the city as improvements are being made to the rail infrastructure for more, heavier and faster trains. Are you in favor of a second railroad overpass? Why? How should the city pay for it?

Yes, I would be in favor of an east/west railroad overpass. I think it is vital for traffic and especially for emergency situations with access to the hospital. I think it would be beneficial reaching out to the governor and state legislature for a transportation incentive program, per se, which would provide funding for this type of project. We are not the only city to be affected by this increase of the railroad activity. Even potentially looking at a local license plate fee that would be annual funding that could go towards paying off a debt of bonds for the project, should bonds be an option.

There has been recent progress on downtown revitalization, but many agree more needs to be done. What do you feel the city can and should be doing to improve our downtown? How much, financially, should the city be involved in revitalizing the downtown?

I would be interested in the option of creating an ordinance for vacant/downtown buildings that may be health and/or safety hazards, hinder economic development and diminish quality of downtown. Create a listing database of sorts that defines building name, owner, year built, zoning, year it was last occupied, uses for buildings previously and value available to potential business owners and maybe owners looking to expand or relocate. Ordinance would require owners to follow maintenance guidelines on vacant/downtown structures, ensure that properties are graffiti free and sanitary, storefronts are in good visual condition.

Employee health insurance is one of the biggest costs for the city. Do you feel there is any way the city can help curb those costs? What ways would you suggest?

I would suggest looking into health incentive programs where employees are encouraged to take a look at their health by going through risk assessments and preventative screenings. This would allow employees to be proactive with their health, instead of reactive therefore reducing claims. Several employers offer incentives to get healthy and rewards in the way of insurance premiums.

A recent study of the city’s parks and recreation facilities showed the potential need for more soccer and baseball/softball fields and an indoor recreation facility along with a system of multipurpose trails. Do you think these amenities are needed in Seymour? Why? How much should the city be willing to invest in these projects?

It is vital to our area to be more activity focused. One can take a quick look around and see that we need a place where folks can walk or ride their bike safely. When you ask someone what Seymour needs, it almost always comes back to being able to do something, whether that is individually or with a family. I would suggest that the committee reach out to areas that did successfully put in a trail in their city to see what they did to seek donations and obtain federal funding for it. There are plenty of folks in Seymour that ride bicycle trails in other states, that could be a great resource of information in finding out where those places are that trails were successful in being implemented.

Many people complain about the condition of city streets and roads. Do you feel the city is spending enough money on this work? If not, how do you propose the city raise more money to do this?

In campaigning, I have found that folks do not seem to know who to talk to when reporting issues such as conditions of streets. I have found that the city has been responsive to issues that I have reported. I know that Second Street was a major issue in terms of road condition and it was repaired.

Kendra Zumhingst

Age: 36

Profession: IT Projects & Purchasing at Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc. for 15+ years.

Background: Seymour High School in 1997, IUPUI 2003 with a bachelor’s degree and Indiana Wesleyan in 2005 with a Master of Science in Management.

Church membership/clubs or organizations: The Point, Boys & Girls Club board member; Boys & Girls Club Youth Triathlon co-creator/co-director; Jackson County Visitor Center board member; Oktoberfest board member; Hometown Collaborative Coordinating Team; Vision 2025 advocate; 21st Century Scholars & Mystery Chaser program teacher; 2015 Leadership Jackson County graduate; Seymour Multisport Club; Jackson County Bicycle Club; CASA; Jackson County Young Republicans & Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Family:

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.