ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- Two people are running for mayor in St. Joseph.

Rick Schultz, photo by's Jim Maurice
Rick Schultz, photo by's Jim Maurice

The incumbent is Rick Schultz he has been the city's mayor for the past 12 years and has lived in the city for 38 years. Schultz says if he is re-elected a top priority for him is to get a community center built.

We have a capital campaign committee started.  We have $4 million from the state, we have $6 million of our own reserves that we are going to use, we're expecting it to come in about $18 million to $22 million somewhere in there.

Schultz says they are in a good spot with the community center, but he says he expects it will take another two years for the capital campaign to raise the money needed to break ground.

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He says he's proud of the robust downtown the community has but they now need to manage the pedestrian and vehicle traffic downtown as well as parking availability for bigger events. He says he's in favor of the plan to bring a boutique hotel to downtown.

As for future growth, he's looking at the area west of town along County Roads 75 and 2.

It could be a combination of housing next to Sara Lake out there, or it could be a combination of commercial with bigger retail stores, light industrial, or shipping spots on the west side of County 2.

Schultz says there should be growth in the city's industrial park as well.

Schultz says there will also be the development of East Park with the help of two grants totaling over $1 million. Schultz is married with three children and three grandchildren.

Kelly Beniek is challenging the current mayor.

Kelly Beniek, photo by WJON,.com's Jim Maurice
Kelly Beniek, photo by WJON,.com's Jim Maurice

Beniek is in her first term on the St. Joseph City Council. She says she decided to run for mayor partly to help get the community more involved in the decision-making process and to make more information available to the public.

I want to work with the staff and the rest of the council to be the sounding board. I want this government center to be a beehive.  It belongs to the people and so they should be able to come in and be a part of it and have their voice be heard.

Beniek says she loves the growth that has been happening in the city's downtown, but she wants to make sure it keeps its character.

One thing residents are really stressing is that they don't want us to become too large of a city and lose that small-town feel.

Beniek says feedback from residents indicates they want a community center, and her vision is to break ground in the next two years.

Beniek and her husband have been residents of St. Joseph for 32 years and have three kids.

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