Lansing City Council members chose a new member for their ranks Thursday, appointing Jesse Garvey to a term that will end in 2015.
Garvey said he was born in Leavenworth and has lived in Lansing for his entire life. He is currently the district manager for the Lansing Aramark Uniform Services facility in Lansing. For the past six months, he has served on Lansing’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
The council had five candidates to choose from for the vacancy — Janette Labbee-Holdeman, Richard Hannon, Lu Earls Cummins, Garvey and Ed Rowe. Mayor Billy Blackwell, whose vacated Ward 3 seat the appointed member would be filling, said he was impressed by the number of applications received.
“I’m glad to see five of you in front of us,” he said.
Council members took In response to a question about what his idea of a successful city was, Garvey said he thought the city needed to help keep its commercial buildings occupied, since that first impression could entice families to move there.
“Once we do that, that brings up everything,” he said.
Garvey later said that the city needs to strike a balance between helping its existing business thrive and incentivizing or enticing new businesses to locate in Lansing.
Asked about developing Kenneth W. Bernard Community Park, he said he felt that the first important step — the acquisition of the land — was already done. Fully built out, he said it could be a big draw for new residents.
“I think you just have to be committed to doing it,” he said.
Council members said before the vote, which came at the end of the regular meeting, that all of the candidates were well-qualified.
“I don’t really know that we had a bad answer,” said Councilman Gene Kirby.
Garvey thanked the council for their vote before giving the residents of the city a message.
“I can assure everybody that I will work very, very, very hard at this job,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a big learning curve for this position, but I’m here for the long haul.”