HALLOWELL — Two Greenville Street neighbors running against each other for City Council say the future of the Stevens School complex is a major issue facing the city.

Diano Circo, 40, and Andrea Mooney, 36, are competing for the same Ward 4 City Council seat.

Circo brings experience on city boards and in public land trust management.

“This is an opportunity to help my own community,” he said.

He has been on the conservation commission for the past nine years and the recreation commission for the past two years. He also spent some time lobbying at the Legislature to protect the city’s interests in the future of the state-owned Stevens School property now being marketed.

Circo said he recently hiked the undeveloped 20-acre portion behind the former Maine Human Rights Commission offices, which he would like to see conserved because it abuts Howard Hill, in Augusta, recently acquired by the Kennebec Land Trust.

“I’ve spent a lot of time back there,” he said. “It would be a shame to lose such a beautiful space.”

He compared it to the Vaughan Woods property on the other side of the city. Circo’s wife, Kate Tremblay, is program director for the Vaughan Homestead Foundation.

“It would be an opportunity to have a similar quiet recreational experience,” he said.

To communicate with voters, Mooney has been blogging on “Andrea Mooney for Hallowell City Council — Ward 4” about city items since October and tries to do it at least once a week.

“Whether or not I get elected, I want to use it as a communication tool,” Mooney said.

If she’s not on the City Council, she still plans to attend the meetings and use the blog “to deliver digestible chunks of information to people that do go online.”

Recent blog posts include her thoughts on the future of the Stevens School Complex.

“The current state of this property is at odds with who we are as a community,” she wrote. “Hallowell needs a plan for this property that breathes life into the space and folds it back into the greater community.”

She also wrote recent posts about the Water Street road reconstruction project that tentatively is planned for 2018.

Mooney is a newcomer to city politics but has helped others with campaigns. She is the treasurer of the Maine branch of the National Association of Social Workers board of directors. She also has volunteered with the Family Violence Project for a number of years.

At a candidates’ night last week, Circo and Mooney said what they loved about the Hallowell.

The history, diversity and culture appeal to Circo.

“I cherish the fact I actually know all my neighbors,” he said. “It’s a neighborhood.”

Mooney likes the people in the city.

“They like to get together and have fun,” she said. “Growing up in Gardiner, I hung out in Hallowell. I feel really lucky I get to be a part of this community.”

Mooney has lived in Hallowell — where she used to work at Slate’s Bakery — on and off since about 2001, and finally settled here.

“I moved to Hallowell to be more connected to the community I was working in,” she said.

Now working in Wiscasset as clinical director for Break of Day Mental Health Group, Inc., Mooney says an opportunity to serve on City Council would allow her to reconnect with the city “and use some of the skills I’ve gained with my work in social work.” She lists those skills as “listening to people and their needs, helping people taking action and helping their voices be heard.”

Mooney said she sent out a mailer in early October rather than put up signs.

Circo has put up a number of signs around the city and hands out cards giving a sampling of the issues facing the city.

Along with the future of Stevens School, he identifies the city’s challenges as handling the anticipated reconstruction of Water Street, needing to ensure resources to support Hall-Dale schools, keeping the community vibrant, and supporting local businesses.

“I think my professional experience and my volunteer experience give me a unique set of skills that I hope I can share as a member of council,” he said. “I see them as particularly relevant, given the issues the city is dealing with now.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.