GARDINER — On the night before Election Day, Shawn Dolley hit the streets in his neighborhood, knocking on doors and handing out fliers.

That’s the sort of thing anyone would expect a candidate for the Gardiner City Council to do.

Except in Dolley’s case, the personal contact was not one of his campaign strategies.

It was his only strategy.

His name would not appear on the ballot for District 3 because he had decided just that day to run for the open seat. The incumbent, Richard Heath, opted not to run for re-election.

“I had considered doing it several times,” Dolley said, “but this seemed like the time to do it. I didn’t realize there was a vacancy, and for me, that was the impetus to run.”

Dolley, 44, won in a relative landslide with 32 write-in votes, earning nearly twice as many votes as the other two write-in candidates, Steve Hanley and Logan Johnston — 10 and 9 votes, respectively.

Dolley, a Winslow native who returned to Maine after working as an architect in Europe, Hawaii and Hong Kong, opened the Stone Turret, Gardiner’s first bed and breakfast in a former church on Lincoln Avenue, in August 2014.

He has never held elected office before, but he has served as secretary for the American Institute of Architects and has experience working with committees, he said.

As a business owner, he said he’s a proponent of bringing new business to Gardiner.

“It seems to me that many people who are concerned about rising taxes are not always interested in having new business,” he said.

He spent a half-hour or so Monday watching the preparations for the demolition of 235 Water St. A more robust city economy might have made saving the historic building an option. Under current conditions, though, he echoed what others have found: The building would never be able to generate enough revenue to cover the rebuilding cost.

“I see Hallowell as a place that has managed to reinvent itself. I’d like to see that for Gardiner,” he said.

When his guests are looking for dining options, he’s happy to recommend the A1 Diner, but he finds himself recommending Hallowell restaurants for less informal dining. “That’s a missed opportunity for Gardiner,” he said.

He sees his training in architecture and to a lesser degree urban planning as assets to the city in its efforts to develop the Cobbossee Corridor and bring more improvements to downtown Gardiner to pave the way for bringing in more business. District 3 includes downtown Gardiner.

“The taxes are the largest complaint,” he said. “I want to make Gardiner a place that people want to move to.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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