|Council veteran seeks re-election|
|March 29, 2012 Jerry Purvis|
Larry Gibbs, who brings 28+ years of experience with him, is seeking re-election to his Ward III seat on the Gering City Council.
“I had been considering stepping down when a lot of people asked me to run again,” Gibbs said. “I was reluctant at first but I’m still enthusiastic about Gering’s future. There’s so much potential here and I want to be a part of that if the voters want me.”
Gibbs said he’d like to see continued economic development in the downtown area. He’d also like to see a cleanup effort on North 10th Street between U St. and Country Club Road.
“The city is currently working on another project in the downtown area,” he said. “If it comes to fruition, in combination with the new supermarket, it will generate a lot of traffic downtown. That’s got to be beneficial to everyone who does business there.”
Gibbs said that from visiting with constituents, they’re satisfied with the direction the city is going; however, he said patience is needed and pointed out the recently opened supermarket, which had been empty since 2005.
One of the agenda items for last Monday’s council meeting was consideration of hiring a city planner to serve both Gering and Scottsbluff. Gibbs said he can see the advantages of having a city planner, although Gering couldn’t afford one on its own.
“There are some real benefits to having a planner,” he said. “We already do a good job of short-term planning, but longer term planning is harder.”
A city planner would help identify areas for future economic development and identify better uses for existing areas.
Gibbs also said the city needs additional lodging in the form of a hotel or motel to accommodate larger meetings at the Civic Center. “The city has wanted a new motel for many years, but it hasn’t happened yet. If we start generating more traffic downtown, it might happen.”
Gibbs said he’d also like to see a larger restaurant in the downtown area to complement the smaller eateries.
“The biggest problem we’ve had over the years is convincing companies that Gering is a viable market,” he said. “We’re just across the river from Scottsbluff, which has twice the population and 10 times the retail traffic we have and retail tends to breed more retail.”
Gibbs said others told him he was crazy for opening a business in Gering in 1981because there was no traffic but he still opened his hobby shop downtown and was successful for more than 18 years. He knows others can succeed in Gering as well.
“It’s an unfortunate mindset with some people, including Gering residents, that you can’t be successful opening a business in Gering,” Gibbs said. “To some extent, we’re our own worst enemy.”
Gibbs said that even though he’s one of the older people in the community, he still has a vision and hope for Gering’s future.
“No matter how old you are, you need to continue to look forward to the future for what can be,” he said. “In doing that, we also need to preserve what we need to remember from the past.”
The Ward III council race won’t appear on the ballot until the Nov. 6 general election, when Gibbs will run against newcomer Benjamen Backus.