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Centerville facing some major changes

Major changes are looming in Centerville, some generated by political turmoil from within the city and some coming from outside forces aimed squarely at the fast-growing city.

Mayor Priscilla Todd, citing her years of community service on the Planning Commission and as mayor, along with growing family obligations, has chosen not to run for re-election.Councilman Steve Mangel also is not running again and the other incumbent council member coming up for re-election is Doug Nielsen, who has chosen to enter the mayor's race.

And, David Hales, city manager for more than a decade, left a month ago.

That means the city will have a new mayor, two new city council members, and a new city manager when the dust from the November election settles.

Nielsen is being challenged for the mayor's job by Frank W. Hirschi, who served years ago on the City Council and has political experience as an Idaho legislator.

Nielsen, 43, is an assistant administrator at Primary Children's Medical Center. He served on the council from 1986 to 1990, then was elected again in 1994. Nielsen also served a two-year term on the Planning Commission beginning in 1988.

Hirschi is retired after a long career in business, real estate, and as an administrator in the LDS Church education system. It was while living in the Bear Lake area of southeast Idaho that he served three terms in the Idaho House.

Outside forces are also aimed squarely at the city. It is one of the fastest growing cities in Davis County. A new commercial and retail area is being developed on Parrish Lane, just off I-15. It has already attracted a Target store and city officials are negotiating a development agreement with Home Depot.

But the development of a commercial corridor along Parrish Lane has not been without controversy. Proposed revisions to the city's sign ordinance stirred up opposition from existing businesses, fearful the changes will force them to buy new signs and lose visibility from the freeway.

The route for the proposed Legacy Highway through west Davis County will profoundly affect the city. Centerville is the pinched-waistline in the hourglass of land between the mountains and the Great Salt Lake.

The highway, to skirt federally-protected wetlands along the lake, will run close to I-15 through Centerville and could cut directly through the city's newly-revived business and industrial park west of the freeway on Parrish Lane.

Last spring, a group of citizens unhappy with what they said was an unresponsive and secretive city administration, coalesced into a watchdog group. Two leaders of the group, Rick Bangerter and Ron Russell, are running for City Council. (Information on council candidates will be published Oct. 30.)