Juliana Johnston Senturia was selected by Shaker voters to join incumbents Nancy Moore, Earl Williams and James Brady on City Council. Senturia is active in the Shaker League of Women Voters and has attended City Council meetings for several years.
Are there any issues in Shaker that you are especially concerned about?
I am especially focused on addressing the pressing financial challenges facing the city, while continuing to position the city for the future. We have to include many voices from across the city as we make tough choices about how to make reductions in expenses and examine how to increase revenues. I think partnerships inside the city with the school and libraries and outside of the city with neighboring communities are key to our future.
Would you support collaboration between the city and the school to fund a new field? Why or why not?
I support a community-wide effort that would focus on private fundraising to meet our needs. Both the schools and the city are facing hard budget choices that make it essential to get individual donors, alumni, businesses and other residents committed to funding the project. But first, we need a study process to help us all get on the same page about what the needs are and to determine a realistic time line to achieving the goals.
What is your opinion on foreclosures in Shaker and how would you like the issue to be addressed?
Because of the impact of foreclosures, the city has been able to strategically acquire vacant properties, with a focus on returning lots into private ownership or into a strategic public benefit. We need to codify our goals for such ‘land-banked’ property through an open process with strong citizen input and representation from neighborhood associations so that standards can be applied evenly. There may be a role expanding for public-private partnerships with area non-profits on housing issues. Strategic use of federal, state and county grant opportunities can make projects possible that would otherwise be unaffordable at this time. This kind of investment can provide gathering places for neighbors, strengthen the sense of community, and encourage private investment in nearby properties.
A version of this article appeared in print on 21 November 2011, on page 3 of The Shakerite.