Newly elected members welcomed to Columbia Heights city council
January 23, 2023
These interviews were originally published in the Heights Herald fall print edition.
Justice Spriggs and Rachel James were elected to Columbia Heights City Council on November 8 of last year and sworn in this past January at Columbia Heights City Hall. In advance of the ceremony, Spriggs and James spoke to The Heights Herald about their backgrounds, favorite underrated Heights activities and more.
While I was campaigning I was able to connect with so many Columbia Heights residents about their wishes for the city, and I feel so honored that people have put their trust in me to do that work.
I would like to improve the safety of our roads for all commuters. Columbia Heights has so many things to offer, and we need to make sure that people can get to those things in a safe manner, including Central Ave. Then there are our parks that have a lot to offer, which I think we can invest in and upgrade.
Another thing I want to see is more diversity in the makeup of our boards and commissions and more outreach and partnership with our youth and schools.
I also want to work with the renters in our community, especially as they are a large portion of our population.
My personal favorite “hidden gem” is the Blooming Sunshine Garden at Lomianki Park on 39th Ave. It is a community garden that anyone can attend to help take care of, pick fresh food and meet great people!
When I get sworn in I am most excited to continue serving our community by focusing on equity in all decisions that the council makes, supporting initiatives to increase livability in Columbia Heights and listening to the voices of all community members.
One specific thing that we get to do in the first part of the year is appoint people to boards and commissions. I will be excited to get new leadership involved in our community.
For a long time Columbia Heights had focused on primarily keeping taxes low and not investing in the future of our community. One change I would like to see is a proactive development mindset to help us compete with the surrounding communities.
Our family loves the community recreation programs all year round, but I feel like the winter activities are underrated. My teens will be joining the ice skating classes, going snow tubing, and we will all be attending the Holiday Train and Snow Blast events.