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Our Opinion: Dual emphasis will challenge new leaders

Our Opinion: Dual emphasis will challenge new leaders

April 20th, 2011 in News

New representation can bring fresh ideas and approaches to existing issues and initiatives.

In the spirit of fresh perspectives, we welcome Jefferson City officials who took their oaths of office Monday.

At the helm of our municipal government will be Eric Struemph. Although new as our chief executive, he is no stranger to elected city office and served previously as a Fourth Ward councilman.

New to elected office are three council members: Shawn Schulte, Second Ward; Bill Luebbert, Fourth Ward; and Ralph Bray, Fifth Ward. They join recently re-elected incumbents: Bob Weber, First Ward; and Bryan Pope, Third Ward.

Also taking office are City Prosecutor Brian Stumpe and Municipal Judge Cotton Walker.

The agenda before city officials is a unique combination of old and new, which reflects its commitment to the economic development approach recently adopted by the area Chamber of Commerce.

The combination is apparent in projects including:

• The Missouri State Penitentiary redevelopment, which links restoration of historic structures with new infrastructure and facilities.

• Plans to build a new convention center and develop Adrian's Island, both connected with the historic Capitol Complex and downtown.

• Old Town redevelopment, which includes renovating downtown living areas to attract young professionals.

We don't believe "Transformation" - the theme of the chamber's economic development initiative - is incompatible with "You'll Feel the History" - a marketing slogan adopted by our Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The dual emphasis, however, does create an uncommon challenge.

We encourage our leaders, and our community, to envision how we integrate preserving our past with promoting progress.