Water and business drive council races
Economic development for Peabody and water infrastructure are common threads among two mayoral and one council candidate.
Besides his familiar roles as council member and firefighter, Steve Rose has worked as a quality inspector for Johnson Controls in Wichita for 41 years.
He’s spent 24 years on the Peabody Fire Department, and 18 years as a city councilman. During that time, he’s been council president 10 years.
It was a desire to improve Peabody that inspired him to become involved with the council in the first place.
“That was an uphill battle fight,” Rose said. “I still believe we need to improve the city.”
That belief doesn’t mean he feels alone in the fight.
“This council group is one of the strongest pro-Peabody councils I’ve ever worked with,” Rose said. “They want to promote our town and the reason I’m running for mayor is to help move it into the next level to make Peabody ‘our town’ again.”
Rose said he’s proud of getting a chain retail store in town.
“A convenience store and gas station would be a perfect addition to that,” Rose said.
The most immediate challenge Rose sees for the city is water infrastructure. Old water lines, with chemicals soaked into the pipes, need to be replaced.
“If I were mayor, we would at least be working on it,” Rose said.
His four-year city council term is ending, so that’s why he decided to run for mayor.
Mayoral incumbent Larry Larsen served two years on Peabody’s city council before running for mayor.
All together, he’s been part of the council 10 years.
One thing he likes to see is for council members to pull together and put the town’s needs ahead of their own opinions.
He believes it’s important for the council to support clubs and organizations to help them move forward productively.
“I think we’ve started looking forward in terms of economic development in both the county and the city,” Larsen said. “We are, like most towns, struggling with the loss of the young. I think we have a lot of positive momentum going forward and I hope that continues.”
He wants to maintain that momentum.
He also wants to emphasize the importance of supporting local businesses instead of driving out of town to make purchases.
“We need to support the local businesses and keep the local businesses going,” Larsen said.
Local dollars are important to more than just businesses, Larsen said.
“One of the things that can’t happen is for us to lose our school,” Larsen said. “We need to maintain our integrity and shop at home.”
No matter who wins the mayoral race, Larsen hopes to see the community continue to move forward with economic development.
“Regardless of who is in any position, what we need to do is become neighbors again and move forward for the good of the community,” Larsen said.
That includes working on water and sewer infrastructure issues, he said.
“We need to progressively come up with a plan to address them fairly shortly,” Larsen said.
Travis Wilson, a resident of Peabody since he was in fifth grade, is a sheriff’s deputy and part-time Peabody police officer, and was on city council in 2015 and 2016.
“I had to step down due to personal and work situations,” Wilson said.
He plans to step away from Peabody Police Department in December.
Wilson also has been an emergency medical responder since 1998.
He wants to see the city figure out what to do with vacant downtown buildings, and to get a gas station back in the community.
“I’d like to see something get done with those in my next four-year term,” Wilson said.
He’d also like to find a way to resolve spending too much money repairing the city pool.
“It seems we keep pouring more money into this pool,” Wilson said.
Something also needs to be done with the city water infrastructure, Wilson said.
He also wants to bring new eyes and new ideas to the work of the council.
“The founding fathers who are still there have years of knowledge as to what has happened, but you need younger, new eyes as well, to look at things in different ways,” Wilson said.