3 challengers for 2 Peabody council seats
Five Peabody residents have filed for election to the two city council seats open this year.
Kim Nellans, Steve Rose, and Catherine Weems face off against incumbents Lindsay Hutchison and Travis Wilson.
Steve Rose has been a council member for 20 years. He served four complete terms and two unexpired terms.
Rose also spent 27 years with the Peabody fire department, retiring three years ago.
Rose said he decided to run because numerous people asked him to serve on the council again.
His top two hopes are to improve water service and street conditions.
“Sewer is desperately needed, but water and streets are what everybody is thinking about the most right now,” Rose said.
Rose is retired from his career as a quality assurance technician for Johnson Controls.
Catherine Weems, a Peabody resident for 3½ years and owner of Peabody Market, is making her first run for city office.
Not only does being a business owner give her a vested interest in the community, but her experience in government prior to moving to Peabody gives her know-how on running city operations.
“I have an interest in keeping the community vibrant and growing,” Weems said. “I have a lot of experience in government.”
She worked 13 years in the city of Wichita’s finance department.
She said knowing how to manage government money will help her make a positive contribution to the council.
“I know streets and water are important to the community,” she said. “I’d like to work with the council on accomplishing those tasks.”
Her focus is not simply on maintaining what the city has, but on growing the community by bringing more to it, Weems said.
Kim Nellans has lived in town three years, in the Peabody area 32 years, and eight years in town before she moved to the country.
This is Nellans’ first run for public office.
“I want to see the town be better than what it is,” Nellans said.
While she supports improving community water service and streets, she also wants to restore the aesthetic appeal of the historic community.
If a resident’s lawn needs mowed or they need help with maintenance, she wants them to get that help. She expects to work with volunteers to tackle those jobs. It doesn’t take much to do, and it really doesn’t cost much, she said.
“I did that before we moved to town,” Nellans said. “If somebody needed help, we came to town and helped them.”
She visited family in Peabody while she was growing up.
“I remember how beautiful this town used to be,” she said.
Peabody volunteers do a great job helping children in the community, Nellans said. She’d like to focus on the town’s seniors as well.
Incumbent Lindsay Hutchison has been on the city council since February 2018, when she was appointed to fill an unexpired term.
“I didn’t know that I would ever want to be on the council,” Hutchison said. “After my first three years, I’ve learned that I can do a lot for our community. I’m not done and we can continue getting a lot done to make our community what we know it can be.”
A Peabody resident for 10 years, she is outreach clinic coordinator for St. Luke Hospital.
One of the biggest projects Peabody is working on now is a water improvement plan.
“That’s about a $6 million project,” Hutchison said.
Streets also are in need of work, she said.
“We need a lot of new streets,” Hutchison said.
The city applied for three grants from Kansas Department of Transportation. It won one grant, was passed over for the second, and has not heard on the third application.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can with good use of taxpayer dollars,” she said.
Hutchison wants to renovate the city pool before it deteriorates so badly that it has to be replaced.
“We have partnered with the Peabody Community Foundation so people can donate for some of those things needed for the pool,” she said.
She wants to build a personnel management program to train, empower, and educate employees. That would benefit the city as well as its employees, she said.
“I don’t have an agenda. I just want the best for our community and I want to help the community get there,” Hutchison said.
Incumbent Travis Wilson, running for re-election, did not return a call seeking comment.