ST. JOSEPH (WJON News) -- There are three people running for two open seats on the St. Joseph City Council. Two are incumbents that were both appointed Kevin Kluesner and Jon Hazen, the third is Adam Scepaniak.

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Adam Scepaniak, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Adam Scepaniak, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
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Adam Sepaniak has been living in St. Joseph for about five years, he's a volunteer firefighter for the community and currently sits on the St. Joseph Planning Commission.

He says he decided to run for city council because he wants to remove barriers for small businesses that want to open in town.

I would like to see a lot of the obstacles and barriers that small businesses face taken out of the way.  I want it to be easier for businesses to open.  And I also want to see my personal community grow and become better.

Sepaniak says there are a lot of good things happening in St. Joseph right now including the growth of the downtown and in the industrial park, with more projects in the works.

We have a potential community center coming to St. Joseph in the next two to three years.  There's also been a wedding venue proposed south of town that would be in the style and appearance of a French Chateau.  That's all very exciting things.

As for the plan to create East Park southeast of St. Joseph, Sepaniak says he's in favor of leaving it as more of a nature park, but he does think the city will need to create some trails to the park for easier access.

Jon Hazen, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Jon Hazen, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
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Jon Hazen says he was born and raised in St. Joseph and moved back to town in 2015 with his wife and four kids. He was appointed to the council about a year ago.

He says St. Joseph is growing at an immense pace and he wants to be an ear for the community as it continues to grow.

What are the wants, what are the needs, what are the types of businesses people are wanting to come into the community, and what businesses they are not wanting to come in?  Most of the time we're kind of a sounding board for things that are going wrong, but there are many things that are going right.

Hazen was on the Community Center Planning Board before he was appointed to the City Council and he says he's definitely an advocate for it.

Where people can go workout, kids can go play, maybe have a pool there.  I'm definitely an advocate for it, it's only going to broaden our community as well as possibly bring more people in for more of a tourist destination city.

Hazen says the budget is also a top priority for him and being fiscally responsible with the taxpayer's money. He says he's still learning a lot about the city government in his first year on the council.

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Kevin Kluesner, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Kevin Kluesner, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
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Kevin Kluesner has lived in St. Joe since 1987 and retired from his job in June of 2021. He's been on the city council since being appointed in March of 2021. He says he sees the need for a couple of new hotels in the community, the boutique hotel for downtown and also one out in the area of Interstate 94 and County Road 2.

That would be a bigger property, think Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn.  We have a lot of visitors, St. John's and St. Ben's attract a lot of visitors to the area.

Kluesner says the downtown has made huge strides to be a destination city, but the city needs to do more to attract businesses to the Industrial Park. He says building a community center is a priority for him, as well as developing East Park.

Keeping that natural, canoes and kayaks can launch from there, it's 90 acres, we're starting to maintain it, we got the grants.  It's just one more place where visitors and residents can go.

Kluesner also wants to work with the new President of the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University to strengthen the relationship between the two schools and the city.

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