Candidate Name: Katherine Grace Viger
(Goes by Grace, maiden name Piciullo)
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer, Associate Principal
How long have you lived in the village? 1998-2011, 2019-Present
Education: Proud EAHS Graduate; Erie Community College: Associate in Applied Science; Computer Aided Drafting/Design Technology; Buffalo State College: Bachelor of Science, Industrial Technology
Work History: IBC Engineering P.C. 2008-2016; Wendel Companies 2016-Present
- How would you describe the work of a village trustee and how do you plan to carry out that role?
As a Village Trustee, it will be my responsibility to review documents and listen to residents’ concerns when making educated decisions to ensure we maintain the beautiful character and charm of our Village. A Trustee should take the community’s concerns and recommendations into consideration when making decisions and look past personal opinions. As a Trustee, I want to be engaging, accessible, and responsive. I feel it is important to investigate all the issues that arise to ensure a clear understanding of the short-term and long-term effects, making sure our decisions are best for current and future residents, and for the longevity of the Village.
- In what ways are you already active within the community? Do you volunteer with any local organizations, or find other ways to help out?
Since moving back to the Village with my husband, I have been getting to know our current residents, listening to concerns and answering questions people may have about the Village and what is happening with its development. My friends and family know that if they have a question, I will find the answer. I recently had the opportunity to volunteer to join the Planning Board for the Town of Aurora. I was interviewed by the Town of Aurora Board and the Town Supervisor and was selected as a Planning Board Member as an Alternate. I look forward to finding more opportunities to engage with our community and give back to the Village I love.
- Why are you running for this elected position?
Since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, I have attended all the Village Board meetings, either remotely or in person. I review the documentation included in the agendas and find it fascinating how much we can learn about our own community by getting involved with its development. I had a strong calling to get more involved with my community and run for a Village Trustee seat. I believe I have what it takes to listen to the residents of East Aurora and make informed, levelheaded decisions that will better our community. I am also one of the most extroverted engineers you will meet. I thoroughly enjoy striking up conversations and listening to what people have to say.
- The current Village Board has received a proposal to develop six homes along Walnut Street. What are your thoughts on this project as presented to the board, and do you have thoughts relative to future development and housing needs within the village?
Although I hate to see this green space go, I believe if there is sufficient research and engineering of this lot, the Village and developers can find a way to ensure these properties are constructed appropriately. Verifying that we will not have lasting negative effects on our natural waterways or infrastructure concerns are of extreme importance to me. As a plumbing engineer, our Village’s current infrastructure needs to be able to accommodate any new development or upgraded to do so.
Regarding future development, it is important the Village Board ensure any new development meets the esthetics and quaint nature of our community. Keeping the small town feel of our Village is something we should strive for. I believe there is a need for more residential housing, especially for our older population. As people get older and look to downsize, there are not may options for senior housing within the village. Residents who have spent their lives in the village are forced to relocate because of the lack of senior apartments.
- Do you have a vision for any changes or improvements at Hamlin Park? If so, describe them.
As a kid I grew up playing in Hamlin Park; this is beautiful space for our community providing a great opportunity for the Town and Village Boards to work together as the Village shares the park’s usage with the Town. The Master Plan for Hamlin Park was approved by the Village Board in September of 2020. Depending on funding, I believe the multi-sport court areas of Phase 2 of the master plan should be our next priority. There is a huge draw to the Tennis and Pickleball courts within the Village and Town, we should focus on providing more of these locations for our residents to enjoy. A splash pad has also been proposed, if funding allows, I believe this would also be a wonderful addition to the park, especially for our younger park patrons. The community has also expressed a desire for a skate park, I think this is something the Village could investigate as well.
- What do you love about East Aurora, and what is one issue that you feel could be addressed for positive change within the community?
I truly believe East Aurora is a Village of Good Neighbors. We shine brightest when we come together as a community and enjoy this beautiful piece of paradise. One issue I’d like to address is community involvement with the Village Board. I’d be thrilled to see more residents attend meetings and for the board to be able to disperse information effectively to the residents so they can be better informed about community events. The current Village and Town Boards are looking into Code Red, which would help effectively alert residents of emergencies, events etc. happening in our community. I think it is a great start to getting our community involved.
The four candidates for the East Aurora Village Board, incumbent Trustee Ernest Scheer, Mary “Molly” Flynn, Katherine Grace Viger and Peter Schwan, have responded to questions sent to them by the East Aurora Advertiser.
The questions were emailed to each candidate on Feb. 24 with a deadline of Feb. 28. For the responses, each candidate was asked to keep answers at 200 words per answer. They also supplied their own profile image.
There are four candidates but only three seats available.
Mayor Peter Mercurio is seeking re-election for a third term in that post. He is running unopposed.
This year’s election marks the first time that the winners will hold a village trustee or mayoral seat for four years. The terms have always been for two years, but the Village Board voted to increase the term length in February 2021. This is the first election where the rule change will take place.
The election is March 15 and will be held at the new town and village hall at 585 Oakwood Ave.