The most contentious race in Washington County was in the Stillwater School District, where the election for three seats became a referendum on whether to close three elementary schools and to support or reject new Superintendent Denise Pontrelli’s district reorganization plan, known as BOLD.
Five of the nine candidates favored overturning a March board decision to close schools in Marine on St. Croix, rural Hugo and Stillwater/Oak Park Heights.
However, they needed to win all three seats to join with a current board member to get the majority vote. That didn’t happen.
Incumbent Mike Ptacek, who voted against, was re-elected. Sarah Stivland, who also opposed the closings, won a seat, as did Jennifer Pelletier, who supported the closings.
Lake Elmo’s election amounted to a battle among a slate of candidates.
Mayor Mike Pearson won re-election, as did Council Member Justin Bloyer. Newcomer Christine Nelson also won a seat.
The City Council election in Arden Hills this year centered on disputes over what one candidate called the “400-pound gorilla,” namely plans for a 427-acre development project on the site known as TCAAP, for the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.
The megaproject that civic leaders have eyed for decades as a landmark development had recently shown signs of disarray.
Candidates had said they feared the city was letting itself be pushed into a project that’s alien to the city’s suburban feel.
Incumbents Brenda Holden and Dave McClung took different stances on the master plan proposed by a developer.
Holden heatedly opposed its un-suburban nature, including the height of buildings, while McClung was more amenable.
Both were re-elected.
In a special election for a seat vacated by an incumbent’s death, Steve Scott topped former Council Member Nicholas Tamble.
Scott had questioned plans for the TCAAP redevelopment.