McMunn wins over Stewart in Sunset Hills

By Gloria Lloyd
News Editor
news3@callnewspapers.com

Ann McMunn is no stranger to appearing before the Board of Aldermen, but she’ll be on the other side of the dais after she won election last week.

McMunn won the race for Ward 1 alderman against Joseph “Joe” Stewart III. McMunn earned 175 votes, or 58.33 percent of the vote, to Stewart’s 125 votes, or 41.67 percent.

Court Drive resident McMunn, a claims specialist with Reinsurance Associates, is best known for her advocacy against the commercialization of her neighborhood. BankStar CEO and Tapawingo resident Stewart currently serves on the Finance Committee. Neither has held public office.

McMunn will succeed longtime Ward I Alderman Richard Gau on April 24.

“I’ve never done this before,” McMunn said. “I’m just looking forward to it, it’s kind of an exciting time in my life and I’m looking forward to a new challenge.”

She also hopes her run for office inspires  other people to get involved, even if they’re just ordinary citizens.

That’s what she considered herself to be before the New Year’s Eve 2010 tornado destroyed her house and much of her neighborhood. But she became a frequent attendee at city meetings to try to prevent commercial developments proposed next to her newly rebuilt house.

She first decided to seek office when she heard the seat was open and it appeared that Stewart was going to be unopposed.

“When it came down to it on Jan. 16, nobody else had signed up and I wanted a choice,” McMunn said. “So I thew my hat in the ring.”

McMunn will be the first Ward 1 alderman who does not live in Tapawingo since 2012.

But she’s not new to activism in the city, after long appearing at city meetings to oppose the commercialization of her street, Court Drive. The city is currently fighting a lawsuit from a developer who wants to turn the neighborhood commercial.

But McMunn doesn’t think that Court Drive specifically had as much to do with her victory as her hard work knocking on most of the doors in the ward and a general feeling that the city needs to pay close attention to developments near residential neighborhoods.

The newly elected alderman would like to see Sunset Hills go forward in a “more residential, family-friendly environment.”

Like any new alderman, McMunn has a list of things she’d like to see done in the city, but first she wants to sit back and learn how the city operates.

“I’d like to beautify and greenify and bring in some green,” McMunn said. “We’ll see how it goes, I just have to get in and get my feet wet first. I don’t want to come in with a pipe dream and stars in my eyes.”

She would also like to try to find some more innovative businesses to come into the city to build on the success of Mellow Mushroom, which people travel to.

She’s not sure what direction the next two years will take her. But she does know one thing.

“It’ll feel weird sitting on the other side of the bench,” she said.