Merridee and Dan Pavlenko wanted to meet the new mayor. Sandy Denes, president of village council, turned out to hear what residents had to say.
In the middle of it all was mayor Hans Schneider, scarfing down a few pastries. He’s not much of a coffee drinker, but welcomed all in the back room of Bread-N-Brew on Saturday for his first monthly coffee with the mayor.
About 10 residents and concerned community members filled the room, including the mayor’s father and his wife.
“I’d love to see a swimming pool, though I know they cost money to maintain,” said Merridee Pavlenko. The old Ponderosa buffet restaurant near McDonald’s would make a great senior center, she said. And how about old-fashioned ballroom dancing at the village hall?
Pavlenko was full of ideas and Schneider soaked it in. “Any other problems we can solve?” Schneider asked.
“Hans, you’re only on the clock until 11,” someone said.
“I’m always on the clock,” Schneider replied.
After mingling informally, a small group gathered to discuss concerns in greater detail. Topics included the Wellington Farmers’ Market, opening Dickson and Carpenter streets to two-way traffic, and the upcoming park to be created where the old McCormick Middle School now stands.
Mike Schneider, the mayor’s father, patiently waited for a window of time to talk with his son about his concerns.
“It’s a good time to talk to him — when he’s in the mood,” he said. “I like to approach him as an average citizen. I’m not looking for something special.”
He lodged his request with the mayor: “I’d like to see a walking track (at the new park). It would be nice to be outside and with the people.”
The mayor said he got the idea to hold monthly coffees after police chief Tim Barfield held a similar one last year. “It’s a great idea,” he said. “You get to hear a variety of issues from different people. Discussion is good even when there is a difference of opinion.”
Resident Bill Berger said, “This is so much more of an informal situation, to ask questions of the mayor and council.”
Gene Hartman, village councilman, said, “I love the opportunity to come to this and get information from the community. We can’t make decisions without the community and mayor Schneider sets the tone for civility.”
The monthly coffees are held the last Saturday of each month. The next is scheduled for 9-11 a.m. on March 26 at Bread-N-Brew, 100 South Main St.
Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.
Photos by Catherine Gabe | Wellington Enterprise
Mayor Hans Schneider sits down for a informal chat with Merridee and Dan Pavlenko to hear what’s on their minds at the first monthly coffee with the mayor.