Reynolds wants to continue contributing to Wooster

Reynolds wants to continue contributing to Wooster

Bob Reynolds, left, shown here with his grandchildren, is running in the May 2 Republican primary to replace four-term Wooster Mayor Bob Breneman.


Much like his opponent, Bob Reynolds is looking at the housing shortage as one of the biggest concerns that will face the city’s next mayor. And like fellow Republican Mike Buytendyk, Reynolds pointed to salvaging older housing as a means of solving that issue.

Reynolds is running against Buytendyk in the May 2 primary to replace outgoing four-term mayor Bob Breneman. Whomever emerges likely will become Wooster’s next mayor, with no Democratic candidate in the race.

“It’s been a hot topic for everyone,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got a bunch of stuff in the pipeline now that should ease up some of that housing issue. We need to wait to see what that looks like after that stuff gets online and then assess the housing market and where there’s still need.”

One thing happening in Wooster and everywhere, it seems, is existing housing on the lower end of the price spectrum is being bought up and then rebranded as rental properties, which then sometimes are rented out for significantly larger sums than they would cost in an ownership situation.

Reynolds said preserving the older housing stock is essential for other reasons. When one house gets old and falls apart to the point of needing to be torn down, someone is put outside.

“If you’re losing the housing at the lower end of the scale — and that’s kind of the way it works, just by natural selection or whatever — when it’s allowed to deteriorate, how do you go about replacing those units?” he said. “Even though it’s not the best housing and you wish it was better, somebody is living there. Once it’s taken out of the supply, that person is living on the street. Those are the people most likely to end up on the street because they’re the most vulnerable.”

An increase in housing also would call for changes in infrastructure, and Reynolds pointed to that as another issue facing the city, though it may be more of a long-range problem. As a specific example, he pointed to the area of Oak Hill and Milltown and the associated highway interchanges as problematic.

“We need to open up those areas for development,” he said. “A project of that nature is very much needed.”

A practicing lawyer throughout his career, as well as a city councilman more recently, Reynolds, 65, decided to run for mayor as a potential change of pace that would allow him to continue to contribute to the city.

“I’m kind of at a crossroads of my career,” he said. “Certainly there’s more of it behind me than in front of me. What is that last chapter going to look like? That’s the end game. I’ve spent 40 years as an attorney full-time. I’m ready to do something different. I’m not giving up my license. I’m certainly going to cut it back. And I’m going to do that win or lose. It’s an opportunity to make a difference. You can’t pass opportunities like this thinking ‘I’ll do this next time around.’ You can’t do that at any age. There might not be a next time around.”

Reynolds, who pointed to the parks, schools and downtown area as the things about Wooster that make him most think of the city, said his strength and maybe the best attribute he would bring to the office is his ability to be a consensus builder.

“I can find the middle ground,” he said. “That’s a part of being an attorney. I don’t litigate a ton, but that’s one thing I can do is bring two sides together. That’s a lot of what governing is. You’re not looking for the perfect solution all the time; you’re looking for the pragmatic one.”

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