Stacy Ellam is a Democratic Party candidate seeking to represent Ward 6 on Conshohocken’s Borough Council. Ward 6 has the only contested primary in the Borough. Also seeking the opportunity to run against incumbent Republican Robert Stokley in the general election is Democrat Kevin Dwyer.
The primary is being held on Tuesday, May 16th.
We asked all of the candidates for Borough Council the same questions. Below are Ellam’s responses:
How long have you lived in Conshohocken?
I was born and raised in Conshohocken and have lived here for 32 years.
I attended West Chester University for my undergraduate degree where I received my BSED in Elementary Education. I then attended Drexel University for my graduate degree where I received my MSED in Educational Administration.
I am a teacher by trade, but I have spent the last 5 years raising my daughter.
Favorite Place that isn’t Conshohocken?
Conshohocken is definitely my favorite place to be, but in my travels I have come to enjoy my time vacationing in Bermuda the most.
If not the incumbent, how many meetings of Borough Council have you attended in the past year?
I have been unable to attend meetings in person, but I do catch them on TV the night after as well as take the time to read the meeting minutes. This keeps me informed on the various topics discussed by the Borough Council in those meetings.
What do you think is the main issue facing Conshohocken?
When it comes to the future of Conshohocken, there is no singular issue that is above any other. The issues that we face as a town are all interconnected such as new building proposals to traffic to housing to speeding to parking to small business and green space. We are at a crossroads as a town and we need to be sure that the people making the decisions moving forward are the ones who understand the history of Conshohocken and what the people, who call Conshohocken home, truly want in their town.
What issue do you think is made too much of?
The issues that the residents of Ward 6 and the residents of the town have presented to me thus far are all unique and extremely important to them. I plan to take the time to talk to the people of the town and listen to every issue they present because every issue that is important to them is important to me. I am their representative and will make sure that their voices are heard.
The new Borough Hall has been open for more than a year now. The retail spaces facing Fayette Street remain empty. What do you think could be done to encourage businesses to lease these spaces?
I am not familiar with the attempts that the borough has taken to procure businesses for their vacant spaces. I do know that the rent that is being asked is a stretch for some small businesses to pay. I also know that the borough is not handling the leasing of these spaces. I would hope the first step is a discussion on lowering rental costs. This should occur sooner rather than later because some financial gain is better than no financial gain. Another piece could potentially be time allocated to hold open house, just as you would with a home, for people to come and look at the spaces. You never know what ideas could become reality with a simple exploration of the space.
What is the one issue that most drives your desire to serve on Borough Council?
Growing up in Conshohocken, where many family members before me played roles in making Conshohocken the town that it is, gives me a great sense of pride about the town. I attended school in town, participated in various activities and as an adult I have worked in town and decided to raise my daughter here. My drive in becoming a member of council is to do my best to ensure that the town I love and made me who I am today is here for my daughter to experience as well. I am worried that decisions already made and that need to be made could alter the course for Conshohocken. My issue is the town of Conshohocken as a whole and what the future holds for its residents.
Borough Council is about to take up the proposed Special Zoning District 4, which would allow for the hotel, larger office buildings, etc., along the unit block of Fayette between West Elm and West First Avenue back to Robinson Alley. What are your concerns for this project and what benefits to you think it could bring?
This project has many concerns to the people of the borough. The intersection is already heavily traveled and adding a considerable number of people and vehicles is a huge concern. The height of the buildings also is in conflict with the Borough’s current zoning for that area. Parking is always a concern as well for the people in the Borough. While additional parking seems to be addressed in the current plans, I would want to evaluate that more closely. I am also interested in the current need to additional office space and hotel rooms. If elected, I will look into the current office space and hotel space within the borough to see if a building complex, as the one described, is necessary for the town. I believe that there are better uses for that space if a total upgrade of the blocks described above is needed. I can see the benefit of adding a hotel space to the town. The current hotel caters more to long term hotel needs, so an additional hotel could potentially bring additional revenue to local businesses and provide additional financial gains to the borough. This revenue could be translated into improvements throughout the town.