Carol Gillespie Announces Run For City Commission Seat 4
Lake Ashson Resident Cites Growth Pressures As Motivation
Last updated 1/19/2024 at 12:11pm
Courtesy Carol Gillespie
A second candidate has announced her intention to seek a seat on the Lake Wales City Commission in the Tuesday, April 2 election, which will see two candidates elected to new three-year terms.
Carol Gillespie, a resident of Lake Ashton, will seek the north-side seat 4 currently held by Danny Krueger. Candidates must live within their district but are chosen in non-partisan, city-wide votes. If elected, she would be the only woman on the five-person commission.
Gillespie's announcement cites her "concern...about the rapid development that is changing the character of Lake Wales," adding that she would like to "help direct further development in ways that will benefit all who live and work" in the city.
Gillespie says that she enjoys the "abundant greenery and wildlife in central Florida and the many recreational opportunities" and would like to take "an active role in regional preservation and environmental enhancement."
She says she aims to "address issues including traffic congestion, limited water resources, job creation, urban sprawl, and destruction of natural lands."
The rapid pace of urbanization here has become a significant issue as more than 15,000 housing units have been proposed by developers.
In response the city hired a team of planners who developed the "Lake Wales Envisioned" plan during a series of high-profile events seeking public input.
The plan proposes to strengthen the city's codes to help prevent future sprawl, restricting new developments to "traditional neighborhood designs" rather than walled enclaves, and requiring connected street grids to reduce traffic congestion.
Among other elements, the plan call for preservation of natural areas in a "Big Green Network," and "complete streets" with sidewalks, street trees, and connected bike trails.
In a possible preview of the race, Gillespie says she "fully supports the implementation of the Lake Wales Envisioned plan." During city commission meetings Krueger has repeatedly mocked the plan's call for "sustainability" as a UN plot to steal freedoms. He was chosen to fill a partial term in 2022, but has not made a formal announcement of candidacy.
Gillespie is an attorney and a current member of the Florida State Bar with 40 years of experience. She has served as a corporate general counsel and has been a Florida resident for 25 years. She and her husband, Gary Robillard, have lived in Lake Wales for more than a decade. They have two grown children who live in Florida and a third who lives in France.
In the other city commission race, Brandon Alvarado is so far the only announced candidate seeking the district 2 seat currently held by Daniel Williams.