Ken Imer, a City Council hopeful in the 2nd Ward, would like nothing more than to improve the city's image - particularly in his neighborhood.
"There are still a lot of good families on (Wheeling) Island," he said. "We love it here. ... It's not a bad place."
He said Wheeling Island, where he has lived on Indiana Street for 19 years, could serve as a promotional hub for the city.
Photo by Zach Macormac
Ken Imer hopes to beautify the city if elected to the 2nd Ward seat on Wheeling City Council.
But first, he would want to take care of a few issues in and around the area.
"Landlords need to have more accountability in dealing with their rental properties," Imer said.
He noted landlords should not only focus on maintaining their buildings, but also screening their tenants to protect their neighbors.
This issue, he said, is city-wide and not exclusive to Wheeling Island.
Though the current council seeks to demolish 21 dilapidated properties this year and razed 14 last year, Imer said he would want to be more aggressive in city demolition efforts.
Adding to his plan for an enhanced image, he said he would push for quicker results in finishing the dugouts at Bridge Park on Wheeling Island, a project approved by council in October 2010.
Also, he said he would want to examine various playgrounds in Fulton and North Wheeling, also neighborhoods located in the 2nd Ward.
Imer said, however, an attractive community does not come only from funds pumped in by the city.
He wants more community participation and hopes to generate that by holding more town hall meetings and forums.
He also would like to offer more neighborhood-oriented service and recreation opportunities.
On other issues, he said he wants to "phase out" the Business and Occupation Tax.
He said he realizes the tax's importance to city revenues and that the tax could be progressively gathered from tourism-related sources.
"Don't tax what draws you to make Wheeling your home," Imer said. "Tax the lodging."
Without a B&O tax, he said, more economic development could occur in the city's empty spaces, building outward from Heritage Port - which he called one of the largest draws to the city.
Before moving to Wheeling, Imer was born and raised in Bridgeport, graduating from Bridgeport High School and later the Eastern Ohio Police Academy. Eighteen years ago, he married Jennifer DeMuth.
She is the former secretary to the Wheeling Island Association. They are raising two children together.
He is presently employed at Staffilino's Chevrolet in Martins Ferry.