Konopka seeks third term as Green Park mayor; faces challenge from political newcomer

Friederich looking to unseat mayor in April 5 election.

By EVAN YOUNG

While Green Park Mayor Tony Konopka believes the completion of the Green Park Road redevelopment is in sight, his challenger for the mayoral post contends “a lot of money” has been wasted on the project.

Political newcomer Mark C. Friederich will square off in the Tuesday, April 5, election against Konopka, who is seeking his third two-year term as mayor.

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the candidates responded:

• “I believe now, as I did in the past, the most important issue in this race is to protect and maintain the residential integrity of the city of Green Park while maintaining a good commercial base,” Konopka said.

• “Open government — The citizens who own this city have little input,” Friederich said.

Konopka, 72, 10721 Antrill Drive, is retired. He is married to Suzanne Konopka.

Konopka, who was elected mayor in 2007 after serving four years as a Ward 2 alderman, previously served on the city’s Board of Adjustment and formerly was the city’s street commissioner. He is seeking re-election to the mayoral post because he is a “concerned citizen.”

Friederich, 53, 11128 Patsy Drive, is employed with Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562. He and his wife, Rita, have three grown children.

Friederich, who has not held elective office said he is seeking election “to seek open and honest government in Green Park.”

The candidates gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

Do you agree with the direction the city is moving?

Konopka said, “I see new business moving into our city, creating new jobs and generating additional revenue. This is happening now even with a depressed economy. So saying that, yes I believe the city is moving in the right direction.”

Friederich said, “No. The city should be expanding. Business should not encroach into residential areas.”

What is your “vision” for the city of Green Park?

Konopka said, “My vision was and still is to maintain an excellent residential community that is a safe and desirable place to live and work while at the same time keeping a strong commercial base. Accomplishing this will protect the residents’ home investments by maintaining strong property values.”

Friederich said, “To grow, expand and prosper. To become a destination — a place people want to go to or live in.”

The Green Park Road redevelopment project has been delayed for years and now is starting. Is this a wise expenditure of city funds?

Konopka said, “Yes, there have been a number of unforeseen delays on the Green Park Road project but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Is this a wise expenditure of city funds? I believe it’s pay me now or pay more later.”

Friederich said, “Something should be done. This entire process was wrong. I have been a project manager and estimator for 15 years. This city does not understand these types of projects. A lot of money wasted — this will cost our citizens over a million dollars by the time it is finished.”

Are you satisfied with the services Green Park provides to its residents, including snow removal, street maintenance and City Hall hours?

Konopka said, “In anything you do (there) is always room for improvement, but the city strives to do the best that it can do at the time.”

Friederich said, “No. For some reason our streets are not equally plowed. Example: Marbob (Drive) is cleared; Bobmar (Drive) is snow-filled for two extra days.”

Do you believe the city should be expanded through the annexation of nearby areas or would you advocate disincorporation?

Konopka said, “While annexation is a possibility, city officials need to concentrate on the projects that are going on now. I don’t believe that annexation is a priority at this time. As far as disincorporation, in my opinion this has never been an option.”

Friederich said, “Yes.”