Mayor visits Debate class

On Tuesday, March 22, Mayor Handshoe, accompanied by senior MYAC (mayor’s youth advisory council) member Jack Meyer, came to meet with Mrs. Wells’ Debate class for a group discussion. The class’s goal was to find ways to make Kendallville a more appealing town, particularly for the youth. The students generated many questions and ideas the day before, and they were ready to ask Mayor Handshoe about Kendallville.

Students suggested that Kendallville have more interesting events for young people, such as a skate night on Main Street, or open mic nights at the park. The mayor was open to these suggestions, and she also informed the students of interesting events that already happen, such as the fairy festival and classes in the Community Learning Center (CLC). MYAC member Jack Meyer, who is employed at the CLC, mentioned that he’d be happy to give a tour of the facility to anyone who is interested. The students asked if more could be done with the fairgrounds, and one student really wanted a pickle fest.  Someone else suggested a food festival in partnership with the Kraft factory. The mayor said she liked these ideas, but she stated that she has no control over that property, and we would have to contact those in charge of the fairgrounds. However, she was considering organizing a Halloween lantern parade, and it would be possible if there was enough community support.

The mayor discussed other things with the students, such as how the town is trying to relocate elderly people to retirement apartments to open houses for families, as Kendallville is becoming a popular place to raise children. She also stated that there were many job opportunities open, and if people were inclined to stay in town, these positions could be filled, and the town would prosper. She wanted more restaurant options to come to town as well. She has contacted multiple franchises to see if they want to build a location in town, but she hasn’t had any luck yet.

Handshoe says that the police force is in good hands. All 19 officer positions are filled, and she says they are actively fighting Kendallville’s drug problems. Students also asked how Kendallville could support small businesses, and she said they would only survive if Kendallville residents chose to buy locally.  Junior Layla Collins stated, “I thought it was an interesting experience to get to see an outer perspective that we don’t normally get.” Senior Lilly Ball said that “Mayor Handshoe was very helpful and gave us many answers to the questions we had.”