Pea gravel pushed Bartelson to run for Lyons town chair
April 27, 2011 | 08:56 AMLyons — Asked why she ran for Lyons Town Board chair, Joy Bartelson's reply was succinct.
"Pea gravel," she said.
Bartelson is Lyons' new town board chairwoman, having defeated long-time incumbent William Mangold 402-353.
She agreed to sit down with a reporter earlier this month during a parent-student night at Lyons Center School.
Bartelson explained that the roads in the Lyons subdivision where she lives were paved with tar and pea gravel. During the hot summer days, the pea gravel and tar get tracked into houses by pets and kids and worked into rugs and flooring.
At her son's birthday, finally fed up with pea gravel and tar, Bartelson announced her intention to run for town board chair.
She said she received nothing but encouragement from the adults at the party.
"Who pea gravels a subdivision, anyway?" asked Bartelson.
Well, the cost-conscious town of Lyons, for one.
Bartelson said that while she's in favor of saving money, using pea gravel on subdivision roads is just wrong. She said residential roads should be paved with asphalt.
Of course, being a town chairwoman is more than just tar and pea gravel.
"I knew it was going to be a huge undertaking," she said.
Bartelson said there are issues between the town's two sewerage districts, Country Estates and Lyons District 2, that need to be ironed out. The two districts should be cooperating, she said.
Instead, the board of the two districts seem to be constantly at loggerheads.
Bartelson said she realizes there are limits to what the Town Board can do with the sewerage districts, but she said she wants to help bridge the gap between the two districts.
"I would like to see the sanitary districts working together," Bartelson said. She said the two district boards should be reporting to the Town Board regularly.
Most importantly, the residents' concerns must be heard by the Town Board and the board must respond, Bartelson said.
"You have to make sure the people's voices are heard," she said. "I want people to feel welcome at every meeting."
Bartelson said the outgoing town chairman, Mangold, has been helpful and gracious, offering information and advice on issues that will be facing the town board.
In a separate interview, Mangold said he's had been on the Town Board for about 30 years, with 20 or so of those years as chairman.
"Maybe it was time for a change," he said about the election results. The continued rising cost of sewer service within the town's two sewerage districts may also have had a hand in his defeat, he said.
Rates are going up as the two districts pay for construction of a new sewage treatment plant.
But Mangold said he's not ready to retire from local politics.
"I'll be watching," he said.