Bob Ryan Sheboygan Step Down

January 17, 2012 by staff 

Bob Ryan Sheboygan Step DownBob Ryan Sheboygan Step Down, Sheboygan’s economic future and the prospect of a casino opening in the city dominated the discussion Thursday night at a mayoral candidates forum at North High School.

The forum, hosted by Lakeland College and The Sheboygan Press, attracted a crowd of about 450 people despite the snowy weather, with Mayor Bob Ryan and six of his seven challengers taking part.

The only candidate not attending was Sheboygan South High School senior Asher Heimermann, 18, who organizers said was in a minor car crash before the debate and wouldn’t be able to attend.

The debate had each candidate answer the same set of questions and covered a range of topics — though the conversation centered on to how to rebuild the city’s economy.

Ryan questioned what he felt was a dire view of the economy by his opponents and touted the steps the city has taken during his tenure to attract new businesses, including the purchase of the Schuchardt farm for a new business park on the west side of the city, where he said two plastics companies are now looking to open.

“This has all happened despite a bad economy,” said Ryan, 48, referring to recent economic development in the city. “The sky is not falling.”

The debate came just five days before the Jan. 17 mayoral recall primary, when the crowded candidate field could get whittled down to two, with the top two vote-getters advancing to a regular election on Feb. 21, unless one person gets at least 50 percent of the vote, plus one.

During the event, several candidates criticized Ryan for not being upfront about the possibility of a casino opening in the South Pier District.

Ryan and other city officials have yet to acknowledge the potential deal, though documents show a casino is under consideration there by a Northern Wisconsin Indian tribe and the owners of the Blue Harbor Resort.

“It’s irresponsible to waste your time in office planning for something you don’t know if your city wants or not,” said Erik G. Neave, 28, a musician in the group Cedarwell and youth mentor with the Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department.

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