Incumbent Eagle River Mayor Jeffrey Hyslop defeated challenger Natalie Spiess 201-152 in the spring election last Tuesday.

Hyslop, 57, has been the mayor since 2001, the longest stint for an Eagle River mayor since Donald “Pike” Dyer who served 44 years from 1953 to ’97.

“Serving as mayor is one of the great honors of my life, working first and foremost to advance and protect the interests of Eagle River,” said Hyslop.

First elected to the Eagle River City Council in 1995, Hyslop was elected mayor six years later. He has been president of Eagle River Light and Water since 2001 and chairman of the Eagle River Plan Commission since 2001.

“Obviously I’m happy with the outcome,” said Hyslop. “Typically, a spring election doesn’t have a lot of voters coming out, so having some competition brought people out.” 

Spiess, the events coordinator for the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, campaigned on the theme that Eagle River was ready for change and needed more economic development.

“We had a very good turnout for a spring election, around 40%, so that’s not bad for a spring election,” said Hyslop. “I thought it was a competitive race and I’m certainly happy with the outcome.”

Hyslop said he is now ready to continue his work as the city’s leader.

“We’ve already got some projects on the docket for this coming summer,” he said. “So we are kind of continuing on the line of really dealing with upgrading infrastructure and putting new infrastructure in the ground.”

Hyslop said when he first became mayor, there were a couple times when he was approached by people who wanted to develop a business and they were looking in areas of the city without water and sewer.

“We are really trying to combat that. Because when people are ready to develop and bring businesses in, they don’t want to wait for the infrastructure,” said Hyslop. “So I think it’s an important part of it. If you build it, they will come. We have seen good results of businesses coming into the community for that reason.”

Hyslop said a good example of being prepared for development is the property at the intersection of highways G and 45, billed as the only state-certified site ready for development north of Highway 29. 

“When I came here, the nearest water and sewer basically ended at Airport Road,” said Hyslop.

“Other things I’m sure will arise, but pretty much we’ll be doing things the way that I’ve been doing them for the past 18 years,” he said. 

Concerning working with the City Council, Hyslop said he has had a good working relationship with the members.

“Everybody’s been great to work with. We will have a little change because Scott Flores (District 1) retired and so we’ve got Robin Ginner joining us in Scott’s place,” he said. “But the council has been great to work with. They ask the right questions and they are very knowledgeable.”

The new council will have its organizational meeting April 16.

“At the meeting on the 16th we will deal with the chief of police position,” said Hyslop, referring to the announced retirement of Eagle River Police Chief Mark Vander Bloomen.

Other City Council members include Jerry Burkett in District 2, Kim Schaffer in District 3, and Ron Kressin in District 4.