by Anja Wuolu
Adam Scepaniak and Kevin Kluesner were elected in November to serve on St. Joseph’s city council. They will be sworn into the four-year term during the next city council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3 at the Government Center, 75 Callaway St. E. in St. Joseph.
Kluesner has been on the council since March of 2021, following the resignation of a previous council member. Scepaniak has been serving on the planning commission and fire department.
Kluesner said he is most devoted to hiring a city administrator, a key position in the city. He is also looking forward to being part of building a community center.
“The community center has been discussed for the past 30 years,” Kluesner said, “and we’re now at that point that we’re going to get it done.”
The project is being developed with a partnership with the YMCA. Kluesner said he is excited to have racquetball courts, community meeting centers and everything the YMCA has in St. Cloud.
Kluesner said he wants to build more houses, so people wishing to live in St. Joseph can find a home. He also expressed excitement about working with Brian Bruess, the new president of St. John’s University and College of St. Benedict. Lastly, Kluesner discussed expansion of business in the industrial park and the I-94 and County Road 2 corridor.
“That whole area is an opportunity for commercial development,” Kluesner said. “That’s just a logical area for expansion.”
Kluesner explained he wanted to welcome more business, big and small, in town. Scepaniak expressed wanting to make it easier for business, specifically for small businesses to begin and expand in the area.
“They face a lot of difficulty and frustration with national rules,” Scepaniak said, “state rules and then there’s also the city of St. Joseph…and they place a lot of rules and obstructions in their way as well.”
Scepaniak said he believes it’s the city council’s duty to help local entrepreneurs, not prevent them from growing. He also wants to place a greater emphasis on the city’s parks.
When asked about potential challenges, Kluesner predicted the budget would be difficult. As COVID-related funds dry up, the city will need to figure out a way to make due with fewer resources. Kluesner also said there has been an increase in emergency response calls. More people are calling 911 because there are more people in the city.
Scepaniak predicted the biggest challenge will be working with a variety of people who all have different opinions.
“I’m going to disagree with people on the council and they’re going to disagree with me,” Scepaniak said. “But just because you disagree with somebody doesn’t mean we can’t be amicable, polite and nice about it. It’s OK to disagree.”
The pair say they look forward to working together alongside the other two city council members as well as the mayor and other staff.