Turnout was tiny Tuesday, but enough to secure re-election for South Amherst Mayor David Leshinski, who defeated challenger Bob James 240-106.
“I take it very seriously, being a public servant, and trying to meet the needs of people,” Leshinski said on Election Night after unofficial results were posted by the Lorain County Board of Elections.
He sees his 69.36 percent victory as a mandate to move forward with plans for economic development in the village of roughly 1,700.
Leshinski said South Amherst would benefit from sewers, which could also help push forward development of the former Cleveland Quarries property.
Industrial Realty Group, of Los Angeles, California, bought the defunct 900-acre sandstone quarries in 2007 after a $1.5 billion plan to create a resort there died. IRG’s aim is to build nearly 50 million-dollar homes, as well as a small hotel and spa.
Leshinski said the village needs that kind of investment.
It’s poised to lose South Amherst Middle School in the next couple of years, as the Firelands Schools shut it down and move to a single campus on Vermilion Road in Henrietta Township.
That will be a blow to the village’s income tax collections, said Leshinski. He wants to find a new tenant for the old school — “The building is very viable. It can be repurposed,” he said.
While Firelands at one time floated the idea of giving the vacated middle school to the village for $1, the district now seems inclined to auction it off.
Under state law, it must first offer it to a STEM or charter school, though.
Leshinski said “it would be nice” to have a Lorain County Community College branch in the building, even if some rather extreme renovations would be necessary.
With the election over, James won’t be sidelined. He’ll continue to serve as president of Village Council through the end of 2021.
He threw his hat into the mayoral race as a write-in candidate, saying he waited too long to get a campaign rolling.
On Monday, he said he understood his chances of winning weren’t high, especially since he didn’t do much canvassing.
James said his main point of contention with Leshinski is money management.
“The village is a giant construction site,” he said, running down a short list of road and sewer projects. “Everything costs money.”
Storm sewers are where cash needs to be invested, he said.