ARCHER—Vanessa Harig is looking to the future as the newest member of the Archer City Council.
There were three seats open along with a vacancy spot in the Nov. 2 city council election.
Incumbents Jeremy Engel and Troy Iedema claimed two of the spots with 21 and 19 votes, respectively.
Harig claimed the third sport with 10 write-in votes over the eight ballot votes incumbent Brandon Lehner received.
Her decision to run for city council came after the candidate filing deadline to put her name on the ballot.
“I am super excited to be involved,” Harig said. “I’m excited to hopefully make positive changes and go forward to represent Archer.”
She decided to run for office after being approached by Archer mayor Nathan Mueller and his wife, Aimee, the only candidate for the vacancy spot on the council.
“They were interested in me helping to make changes to the community,” Harig said. “They said I would be a good candidate because they would like to see younger people and females.”
Nathan Mueller said he and his wife approached several people, including Harig, before the election.
“It is really nice to get women involved,” he said. “I like to hear everyone’s thoughts. It’s the only way to get a true idea of what everybody can agree on.”
Harig’s initial goal as a council member is to make crossing Sanford Street/Oriole Avenue, also known as O’Brien County blacktop L40, safer for pedestrians.
“That’s my No. 1 concern — get a pedestrian sign that lights up so children can safely cross the road,” she said. “Most people speed through town going 45 when it’s supposed to be 25. I’ve seen kids cross the street in front of semis.”
Harig’s home is on the east side of the blacktop where the library and city park are located. All other residences are on the west side.
Past city councils have looked into installing a crossing light, but there has been no follow-through, Harig said.
“I would like to get it done and passed so next summer I can see families cross the road safely,” she said.
In addition to a crossing light, Harig also would like to have a new community center and library.
“I would love to see a place where people can gather,” she said. “Families who want to do birthday parties or family gatherings, there’s really no place in Archer to do that.”
The existing community center and library are in the same building; however, the community center portion is no longer accessible.
“The whole building is completely infested in mold,” Harig said. “The library part is safe; the rest of the building is just not safe.”
The existing city council has been discussing the need for a new library and community center.
“She can present ideas in a way that other council members can’t,” Nathan Mueller said. “I think bringing different perspectives is what the city of Archer needs.”