Paine to seek another term as Superior mayor
Mayor Jim Paine says the progress made over the last five years is just the beginning of his goals for the city.
SUPERIOR — Mayor Jim Paine announced Thursday, Sept. 15, he will be seeking another term in office.
While it would be his third term in office, it would only be his second four-year term.
Paine was initially elected in 2017 to finish two years of Mayor Bruce Hagen’s fifth term in office after Hagen retired mid-term.
“Superior’s come a long way in the last five years, but I’m telling you, we’re just getting started,” Paine said.
During his tenure as mayor, Paine said hundreds of housing units have been built. The city has invested millions in economic development, brought new retail to the city, lowered taxes and fees, and brought greater access to the wilderness and Lake Superior than there has been in the last 50 years, he said.
In 2019, Paine had the idea to look at economic development differently. While the city had a long tradition of assisting large businesses with development in the city, Paine worked to create the first grant program designed to help small businesses develop and grow in the city.
Since the inception of the small business grant program, the city has invested $485,744 in dozens of small businesses to spur more than $1.8 million dollars of investment in small business throughout the city.
“I just want to say that hasn’t been just me,” Paine said. “Leadership matters so we did that as a team. We had a great city council. We have outstanding professional staff that have relied more than anything on the support of the public with the courage they demonstrated to support some pretty radical changes.”
However, Paine said the things that have been accomplished over the last five years are just the beginning of making Superior a better community.
“I want to focus especially on affordable housing, bringing beautiful neighborhoods to every corner of the city,” Paine said. “I want to keep investing in safer streets and sidewalks so everyone from kids to senior citizens can feel safe moving around even on foot in their own neighborhoods.”
The mayor said there is still room for growth in local retail, but he wants to focus on local shopping districts in every neighborhood.
“People used to be able to go shopping in all parts of the city, and I want to bring that back,” Paine said. “I think we can bring better access to mental health care and drug rehabilitation … as tough as those challenges are, I really think we can solve them.”
The city last year established a grant to assist mental health service providers in the city.
However, one of the ideas that really excites him is bringing art, film and culture back to downtown. “We’ve already started investing in that,” Paine said. “It’s been too long since there have been great things to do downtown.”
The city has purchased the former Princess Theater at 1310-1312 Tower Avenue and is working on a plan to redevelop the theater built in 1913. The city has also approved funding to establish public art in the city.
“I have a really big dream to bring access to the outdoors to every single home and every single neighborhood in the city of Superior. “I really think you should be able to walk to an outstanding outdoor experience no matter where you’re from in the city.”
He said that will require investing in some neighborhoods more than others and investing in parks to ensure beautiful outdoor spaces where people can spend their time.
“Just because you live in the North End, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to great experiences that everyone else has,” Paine said.
Paine is the first candidate to announce plans to run for office in 2023. The election will be held April 4 with a primary to be held Feb. 21. In addition to the mayor, even-numbered council districts will be on the ballot.