Sales manager running for Champaign council member's seat

Sales manager running for Champaign council member's seat

CHAMPAIGN — A new candidate has made it a contested race for the Champaign City Council seat held by Paul Faraci.

Brian Ames, a 50-year-old sales manager, announced he will run in the April 4, 2017, municipal election in District 5, facing Evangeline "Vanna" Pianfetti.

Pianfetti announced last month that she will seek Faraci's council seat. Faraci said he won't seek re-election to the council, but will run for City of Champaign Township assessor.

Ames, who works for Altria Group, is a native of Duluth, Minn. He and his wife, Penny, have two adult daughters, and formerly lived in Sterling before relocating to Champaign 15 years ago, he said.

Also a high school basketball referee for 11 years, Ames has been president of the Ironwood Homeowners Association for six years. Two years ago, he was appointed to serve on the city's Neighborhood Services Advisory Board and asked to be a liaison between homeowner associations throughout the city and the board, he said.

To date, he's conducted three meetings with those associations, offering members opportunities to discuss topics of interest in their neighborhoods, Ames said.

One big issue drawing him to run for council is getting the Kirby Avenue bridge over Interstate 57 fixed, he said. Many residents in area consider that bridge unsafe.

"That needs to be fixed sooner rather than later," he said.

Ames said he's been appearing before the council frequently, and one topic he raised at a recent meeting was garbage collection in his area of the city.

"We have garage trucks on the street five days a week," he said.

While he doesn't want to restrict anyone's choice of haulers, Ames said, he'd like to work on a plan to zone collections to reduce the frequency of garbage trucks on the streets.

He also thinks it's important as the city expands to the southwest to keep an eye on infrastructure needs, with one project expected to drive more traffic to the area the $75 million Carle at the Fields facility under development at the Curtis Road interchange of Interstate 57, Ames said.

"Curtis (Road) is great, but Staley (Road) I don't think is built for that much traffic every day," he said.

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