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These four duke it out in city primary

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Bill Stuessel, Kevin Swanson, Eric Amundsen and Sean Downing.5 / 5

Use the arrows above to scroll through candidate videos. 

There is a Tuesday, Feb. 21, primary election in River Falls for District 1 voters. There is also a statewide primary for Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction — incumbent Tony Evers, faces off with challengers Lowell E. Holtz and John Humphries.

Four candidates are running for the District 1 seat on the City Council. That seat is being vacated by incumbent David Cronk, who isn't running again.

The Feb. 21 primary will eliminate two of the four District 1 candidates. The two with the most votes advance to the April 4 spring election.

Voting polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. District 1 covers wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 in St. Croix County, plus Ward 5 in Pierce County (Golf View Drive area).

St. Croix County voters in District 1 go to the polling station at the public library, main level, 140 Union St. Pierce County voters in District 1 go to the polling station at City Hall, lower level, 222 Lewis St.

Other polling places in the city are: District 2, University Center Falls Room on campus, park free in Lot 2; District 3, Meyer Middle School, north entrance; and District 4, the high school.

Rural residents vote at their respective town halls.

Voters should be registered to vote at their current address and show an acceptable photo I.D. to vote.

Below, the four District 1 primary candidates gave a 200-word response to this question: What is the biggest issue facing River Falls, and what, as a council member, would you do about it?

Bill Stuessel

798 Leroy Lane 

A major issue is planning for the future of the Kinnickinnic River Corridor. Should the city take out the upper dam and leave the lower dam, remove the lower dam and leave the upper dam, take out both dams, or leave both dams as is? Data needs to be obtained and analyzed to determine the following: what will happen to the stream of the upper river, what will happen to the lower river, how will land from the upper and lower ponds be reclaimed, how will this be financed, and will these actions enhance the recreational quality of the Kinnickinnic River. The role of the City Council is to gather and present information and encourage an open dialogue with community members in order to make well-informed decisions about what people want for the future of River Falls.

Continued revitalization of our downtown will encourage the development of new businesses. We want River Falls to be a destination spot for not only our own residents, but also for our friends in neighboring communities. We need to grow our industrial parks with clean industries that will bring in revenue to the city and be aesthetically pleasing to residential neighbors.

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Kevin Swanson

945 Lucille Court

I believe most residents of River Falls believe the Kinni Corridor project is the biggest issue now. There is a Kinni Corridor committee that includes members with various backgrounds as well as outside consultants. This committee will explore corridor options and bring forth a recommendation in 2019. This committee will continually provide updates, solicit resident working sessions and input.

With the Kinni committee in place, I believe the biggest issue for River Falls and the City Council is budgeting and prioritizing Capital Improvement projects. I'm serving on the Utility Advisory Board, so I see the Capitol Improvements relating to utilities. Capital Improvements projects include infrastructure, parks, utilities, etc. These projects are brought to the City Council for consideration and prioritization. The City Council prioritizes these projects during annual budgeting according to state levy limits vs. the actual dollar amount the city is willing to levy.

If elected District 1 alderman, I would address the budget and prioritization of Capital Improvement projects by continually informing and soliciting input from you, the residents of River Falls. Your input will help to protect and service the residents of River Falls. I can be reached by my city email address, phone and social media.

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Eric Amundsen

500 Marcella Court

I feel that one important item regarding the city is new business. While we are working on our industrial parks and filling them with new business, I would also like to see more commercial and retail business coming to River Falls. As our city continues to grow, our community is longing for commercial and retail business to go with the residential growth. There are several benefits to the growth of new business in our community. This will create selection of business whether it be restaurants, clothing, home improvement, and many other retail and commercial stores. As a community, we benefit by the jobs that these business will bring and also enjoy the tax relief on residential assessments by the tax revenue created by the new business.

I plan on working together with our city staff, Pierce and St. Croix County and others involved with development. Another way I plan on building our base is by simply speaking with the members of our city. There is no better option than our community citizens to tell us what they want in River Falls. By involving the community we can together build our city into the place people come to for their needs.

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Sean Downing

545 N. Dallas St. 

Respecting the wishes of the community to keep the charm, character, and nostalgia of the city intact so that others may appreciate it is job number one for me. For some, this means how we balance growth and development. Others want to get to work, to shop downtown, or to go outside and enjoy our great parks.

We need to keep River Falls compact and easy to enjoy. By having attractive neighborhoods with affordable varied housing we can work toward this goal. Historic buildings contribute to the city's character. Historic preservation adds to our economic development.

The university plays a major role in the dynamics of River Falls. Our role as a college town is part of our city's charm and future. Community activities add value for our existing residents and make us a welcoming place for new ones.

As we improve our community it is inviting for you with social activities, with local businesses, and with natural beauty and parks. Our inclusive community includes you.

Please consider voting for me. I will protect the integrity of the city and put your needs first.

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