Gardiner business owner Amy Rees was selected Wednesday to fill the vacant District 2 seat on the Gardiner City Council.

The selection, made in a secret-ballot vote by elected city officials, came after one of the three candidates expressing interest in the position withdrew herself from consideration.

“I have attended council meetings over the years,” Rees, 55, said Thursday. “I sat in on the last four council meetings to get a better feel for the makeup of the council and to help me decide if this was something I wanted to do.”

Kerstin Gilg, Rees and Karen Tucker all had indicated they were interested in serving on the City Council after Patricia Hart was elected mayor in November, midway through her term.

All three attended Wednesday’s meeting to answer questions from the City Council. But before they started, Tucker said she was withdrawing her letter of interest.

“My application shows that I have been on several different boards and activities in Gardiner, but after reading the other two letters of interest from citizens of Gardiner, I feel I would be well represented,” she said. “Other things are coming up, so I feel sure I would continue to serve Gardiner in some capacity.”

Tucker has worked on a number of projects in Gardiner and was among those who advocated for a new walking trail off Harrison Avenue.

Both Gilg and Rees are business owners in Gardiner and have volunteered their time with Gardiner Main Street in different capacities. Gilg was design chairwoman and Rees has been president of the Gardiner Main Street board of directors. Rees has been vice president of the Gardiner Board of Trade and Gilg, who also works as an arts administrator for the state of Maine, is currently on the Board of Trade.

Gilg, who has served on both local and statewide boards and was instrumental in bringing the Wheat Paste art project to Gardiner, said he would bring a good perspective on the state’s creative economy.

“There is smart, incremental growth that happens in Gardiner,” he said. “It needs management to keep it moving forward, and I think I can help.”

For her part, Rees said she’s passionate about Gardiner, and it’s important to her to work with people she can communicate with.

“I feel like there’s really good discourse and we can do it in a respectful manner,” she said.

Rees, who is co-owner of European Auto Service, said one of her first priorities is taking Christine Landes, who started as city manager in mid-August, around to meet business owners in Gardiner.

She and her husband, Robert Lash, owned and ran the former Water Street Cafe in downtown Gardiner.

“(The city) is in a unique position to attract larger businesses, but retain the quaint appeal,” Rees said. “I do know some of the larger business owners and I would like to take her out and introduce her, so they can put a face with a name and know the city is there for them.”

The best advocates for attracting new business to Gardiner are current business owners, she said.

While she has other ideas, Rees said she doesn’t want to bite off more than she can chew at the start of her service.

Rees, who was sworn in and took her seat at the meeting, will serve for the rest of 2019.

In November, the seat comes up for election again.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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