Fox Point — Political newcomer and eight-year village resident Marty Tirado has launched a write-in campaign for the Village Board and is running on a platform opposed to the reconstruction of the Bridge Lane Ravine footbridge.
Tirado, 41, hopes to unseat incumbent Christine Symchych or beat out Terry McGauran, who is running for the second time after a failed campaign in spring 2013. Before Tirado's campaign, Symchych and McGauran were running unopposed for two seats on the board.
Tirado's main selling point is an outspoken opposition to the reconstruction of the footbridge, which was closed years ago due to structural problems and sat idle while the Village Board deliberated at length over its fate.
In recent years a non-profit fundraising group has been tasked with raising $625,000, or half on an early reconstruction estimate, and the bridge was torn down in August. The Village Board recently put the reconstruction project out to bid in an effort to solidify a cost but has not yet committed to the project itself.
While the numerous estimates over the years have varied wildly, Tirado said he trusts the accounting of outspoken project opponent Larry Booth, who contends the true cost could be near $3 million and cost the average homeowner between $500 and $1,000.
In an effort to put the brakes on the project, Tirado has launched his campaign after performing a bit of political accounting.
Tirado predicts Village President Michael West and trustees Douglas H. Frazer and Symchych would vote for the project while trustees F.R. Dengel and Beverly Bell would vote against. McGauran has spoken in support of the project and trustee Eric Fonstad has said he would only support the project if it comes in at $1.3 million and the fundraising group contributes half.
"That makes it a real split, which makes it critical, from my perspective, to get this position on the board," Tirado said. "...I'm hoping that if I get elected it would end up being 4-3 (in opposition)."
Tirado said village residents should be polled on whether they support the bridge, and thinks the results would show most do not.
"When I've gone to the meetings recently, I've kind of realized that the deck is getting stacked against what I think is a majority of village residents, who wouldn't support this," Tirado said.
Tirado said the potential footbridge funding would be better spent on park upgrades, maintenance on the polling center at Ellsworth Park, or public works projects like the village pool.
Tirado also said he is a supporter of continued consolidations with other communities on public services, including police.
More information on Tirado is available on his campaign blog, http://sustainablefoxpoint.blogspot.com/.
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