The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

New commissioner sees need to get involved


April 30, 2014

Ned Kilpatrick

Ned Kilpatrick knows he needs to get involved if he wants to help shape Sweet Home’s future.

To that end, he applied for an opening on the Planning Commission, and the council appointed him on March 25.

“I was actually kind of talked into it,” said Kilpatrick, 32. One of his co-workers, James Goble, is involved in the community, serving on the Planning Commission and spearheading the BMX track project at Sankey Park.

The two work at Ti-Squared where Kilpatrick is the lead person in “investing,” the department where the company makes ceramic shells used in casting.

“He and I conflicted about a couple of different things,” Kilpatrick said. They were discussing some Planning Commission hearings and actions. “Then he said the best way to get things done is to get involved.”

If he wanted to change anything, he would have to get involved, he said. For Kilpatrick, that means some kind of return to the old days.

He doesn’t aggressively want to change anything in particular, he said, but he would like the chance for his voice to be heard when the opportunities for change arise.

“I like where Sweet Home has the potential to go,” Kilpatrick said. “With the Bi-Mart coming in, I’d like to see more business coming in.”

At one time, Sweet Home residents could shop locally and buy men’s clothing at local stores, he noted. “All the businesses went away, and we need to bring some of it back.”

Kilpatrick grew up in Sweet Home, graduating from Sweet Home High School in 1999, and he has remained here.

“What kept me here was just the scenery,” he said.

Kilpatrick worked in construction, building metal-framed stores, such as Costco, he said. “I’ve been to Chicago, Denver, L.A., Puerto Rico. Nothing was like here.”

In terms of the relationship between property rights and regulation, “I’ve always felt if you work hard all your life, you should be able to do what you want, within reason,” he said. “Do what you want with your property, as long as you’re not hurting people or the environment.”

There are some areas that demand scrutiny with development though, and some things that have been built and some decisions don’t make sense to him.

“I’m all for beautifying Main Street,” Kilpatrick said. “Plant trees, flowers all the time, I’m all for that.”

But he also would like to be able to make a turn into the Shell (now Chevron) station at 13th and Main across Main Street.

As Sweet Home continues growing, he’d like to keep an eye out for that type of construction.

Further east along Main Street, he would like to see property developed, pointing to the large field and empty space between Midway and Sweet Home Choppers.

He is excited about the plans to move the Jamboree to a new park at the north end of Clark Mill Road.

Since he’s still new to it, he’s still learning about the Planning Commission’s role, other avenues for the changes he wants to see and what he can do.

At the commission hearings he attended, “I would’ve liked to ask ‘why’ more,” Kilpatrick said. In two different hearings, the commission approved the use of an RV as a residence in one case but not in the other case. The purposes for each of those requests were different. He’s curious about why.

The “why” isn’t limited to hearings, he wants to find out why ordinances are the way they are and why people think they should be exempted from the requirements when they go to the Planning Commission with a variance.

“Now’s the best time,” Kilpatrick said. “I see there’s a lot of change happening in the council and public officials. There’s getting to be a fresher outlook on some of these things.”

Not to put down the old-timers, but Sweet Home is entering “a new era,” he said.

Kilpatrick has one daughter, Patricia Rose Kilpatrick, 12.


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