Spierings, Gray running in Weyauwega
By Angie Landsverk
Jack Spierings is seeking a third term as mayor of Weyauwega, and Theodore Gray is seeking a first term for the position.
The candidates face each other in the April 2 election.
“I enjoy doing this, and I hope I can continue doing this,” Spierings said of being mayor.
The Little Chute native has lived in Weyauwega since 1977.
Retired, Spierings works part time for the local co-op and for Trans Central.
He served on Weyauwega’s common council for 5 1/2 years, and is serving his third term on the Waupaca County Board.
“I think between the city council and our city employees, things are really going good,” Spierings said. “We lowered taxes. The street crew is becoming very efficient. The police department is doing wonders with the young people, putting on movies.”
Now the city is working on a new website, he said.
The city plans to use the revamped website to promote its industrial parks and residential lots in Mill Pond Circle, Spierings said.
Enhancements are planned this summer in Peterson Park.
City Administrator Jeremy Schroeder is seeking grants to help the lakefront and add a playground and docking area in the park for canoes and kayaks, Spierings said.
He believes being able to work with all city departments is a quality that makes him a good mayor.
“I’m not afraid to meet people and to go toward improvements or solve problems,” Spierings said. “I enjoy the job. I enjoy meeting people.”
When residents call him with concerns, he works to get to the root of problems.
Spierings said his vision for the community is an enhanced business district.
“I definitely want to see that grocery store be open, and I think it will,” he said. “I feel very positive it will be open in spring or early summer. The target date right now is May 1. The family interested in it is still interested in it, and wants to be part of Weyauwega.”
Spierings noted the positive things happening in the community.
“World Class just expanded. Agropur is expanding. The saw mill in the industrial park just doubled its size,” he said.
The site of the former sausage plant may redevelop, and Weyauwega Star Dairy is also looking to expand, Spierings said.
“Every business here in town is expanding and hiring. That’s definitely a positive thing,” he said. “Jobs are available for people who want to work.”
Spierings wants to see redevelopment and a new energy on Main Street and more residents involved in local government.
To accomplish his vision, he will actively promote the industrial parks and work with Schroeder to seek grants to enhance the city’s library, parks and streets.
The city is looking into whether it and individual groups may apply for funds from the estate gift of the late Marilynn Taylor.
“Anything from there would be wonderful,” Spierings said.
This is the first time Gray is running for an elected position in Weyauwega.
He served one term on New London’s city council about 15 years ago.
Born in Portage, Gray has lived in Weyauwega for 13 years.
Retired, Gray said he wants to be mayor because of “what’s happening in this town.”
He sees Weyauwega as a “dead town” and wants to see more development off U.S. Highway 10 and a Dollar General in the community.
“I’ve got the love for this city,” Gray said when asked about his qualities. “I’m going to be known as the people’s mayor.”
He wants to see more residents attend common council meetings and alderpersons be attentive to the residents they represent.
Gray is interested in seeing more discussion occur at the council level.
If elected, Gray would meet individually with each member of the council, as well as with Schroeder.
The current budget and how to redevelop the downtown would be among the topics.
Gray would have office hours at City Hall.
He said, “My vision for this town and everybody else’s vision for this town is to get stores here, so people don’t have to go out of town. They can spend their money here.”
Gray wants to see a mix of retail and restaurants downtown and more manufacturing in the industrial parks.
He would work with city staff to encourage graduates to stay in the community, or return.
Gray also wants to see more people involved in the community, volunteering or serving on the common council.
If elected, he would seek to accomplish his vision for Weyauwega by contacting Dollar General to set up a meeting with its representatives.
Gray would also seek a conference call with the owner of the property near the restaurant and gas station off U.S. 10, saying he wants to see a strip mall there to stay competitive with surrounding communities.
People want change, he said.
“They want progress. They want businesses and manufacturing. They want stores they can shop in,” Gray said.
As mayor, Gray would seek input from residents by surveying them every five years.
He believes there should be competition for elected positions.
“I just want the opportunity to serve the city of Weyauwega, along with the residents,” Gray said.