Board Candidate Interview
Name: Aaron Paden
How long have you been in East Lawrence?
Why do you live here? What do you love about East Lawrence?
I moved here for a variety of reasons. Like many – I loved the affordability of the neighborhood and how it allowed people with limited means to own a home. I also love the ‘live and let live’ attitude that allows neighbors to utilize their space in a variety of ways. I love that, historically, our neighborhood is one of mixed backgrounds with predominantly working class people – creating the vernacular architecture that defines many of the structures. I love that many of my neighbors are concerned about the rising prices of homes and the dwindling diversity – asking questions about why is it happening, what does it mean, and how do we remain a home to those of limited income and/or of alternative lifestyle. How do we deal with those who see our community as an “investment opportunity”?
What projects, new or existing, do you want to get involved with this year?
Pam and I oversee the fundraising efforts with concession sales during the Kaw Valley Kickball league “Game of the Week” at Hobbs park on Sunday nights – I hope to continue that with her again this year. I also help put on the Yart Sale and Neighborhood block party by organizing trucking services, and general assistance from setup to clean up. As a parent I, like many on the board, play a role in linking New York School and Central Jr. High with the neighborhood. In terms of new projects – I’m looking forward to continuing work on the overlay district & working on a new version of the 9th street project. I also enjoy participating in and occasionally help organize School and River clean ups. I will continue to find advertisers to sponsor the neighborhood newsletter. (If you are interested in sponsoring let me know!)
What do you feel you have to offer to the Board and the neighborhood as a candidate?
I have organized the writing and submittal of the ELNA Community Development Block Grant application for the past several years and will continue to seek grant funds if re-elected. As a 3 terms past president I have a good deal of knowledge about both the neighborhood and the neighborhood partners. I have developed relationships with members of our local schools, the city staff, and most of our elected officials. I will do my best to continue the success of the Yart Sale, Block party, various clean up projects, and fundraisers – working to make them enjoyable, open to everyone, and well run.
Anything else you’d like folks to know about you?
I really love tacos, I show deference to those who came before me, and I am wary of the idea that new is better. I’m a big fan of this phrase: “East Lawrence – We aren’t your before shot” … To make that clear -> If you feel like you are “saving the neighborhood” – I can guarantee that isn’t a healthy perspective and I would be happy to discuss.