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Madison Ald. Ledell Zellers won’t seek reelection

November 14, 2018

Madison Ald. Ledell Zellers, who has helped balance growth and historic preservation on the booming Near East Side, announced Tuesday that she won’t seek re-election for a fourth term representing the 2nd District.

Zellers becomes at least the seventh of 20 City Council members to publicly state they will not seek re-election next year.

Long an activist in neighborhood affairs and a champion of historic preservation, Zellers was elected to the council in spring 2013. The district runs along the Isthmus east of the state Capitol and north of East Washington Avenue.

“I want to make time in my life for other interests and maybe even being able to do some things on weekday evenings other than city-related meetings,” she said. “It truly was a difficult decision because I care deeply about the health of the city and the well-being of the neighborhood.”

As part of her neighborhood activism, Zellers was a member of Capitol Neighborhoods Inc.’s executive council for 11 years, serving as president for three years. Under her leadership, CNI established a neighborhood development protocol.

In 2003, she was appointed to the Downtown Coordinating Committee and was chair at the time of her election to the City Council. In 2008, she was appointed to the Zoning Code Rewrite Advisory Committee, which worked with the city to review and advise on a new zoning code and map and made recommendations to the Plan Commission. The new Zoning Code went into effect Jan. 2, 2013.

On the council, Zellers has helped shape the revitalization of East Washington Avenue and the rebirth of landmark Breese Stevens Field while working to preserve historic buildings and tempering the height and mass of redevelopment as it touched residential areas. She has fought to minimize sound and other impacts of The Edgewater hotel.

Zellers said there have been more than 1,000 units of housing added in the 2nd District since she joined the council, and that she has been “energized and grateful for the support given by the neighbors to the right developments in the right place, even those that were relatively tall and large.”

She also noted as achievements the historic Lamp House block plan, an improved idling ordinance and Mifflin Street bike boulevard, the coming James Madison Park Master Plan, and the elimination of the incessant beeping of city buses.

“One of the things that made the decision not to run for a fourth term easier for me is knowing that we have many thoughtful, dedicated residents who are already doing great work on behalf of our neighborhoods and who would give serious consideration to running for alder,” Zellers said. “Part of the reason I am making my intentions known now is so people have time to consider running.”

The city primary election is set for Feb. 19, with the general election on April 2.

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