Reviving neighborhoods and improving traffic are priorities of Ben Klug, the Indian Creek resident appointed Tuesday to fill the town council seat left vacant by the resignation of Councilwoman Wendy Harrison.
“Playgrounds, road improvements, sidewalks — infrastructure improvements like that make a huge difference to a community. Neighborhoods are my passion,” said the Cincinnati native who has been president of the Indian Creek Property Owners Association for 10 years.
The council voted 4-0 Tuesday to appoint Klug, 36, to fill the position until March, when the term Harrison was serving expires. Klug said he has not decided if he will run for the position after his appointment expires. The annual pay for a council position is $18,600.
“(Klug) stood out from the other applicants. He has been attending all the council meetings. He is up to speed on all the issues,” Councilman Ilan Kaufer said.
Klug and wife, Jennifer, a second-grade teacher at Lighthouse Elementary School, have two daughters, Emily, 8, and Kadie, 5. Klug is a 1998 graduate of Dwyer High School. Klug is a custom metal fabricator at General Sheet Metal Works Inc. in Riviera Beach, where he has been employed since 1999.
When Klug moved from Cincinnati to the Heights neighborhood in Jupiter in 1996, he remembers that the property that is now Abacoa was where he picked strawberries. Jupiter’s population since he arrived has doubled to almost 60,000.
That population increase has brought traffic issues that must be addressed, Klug said.
“Motorists have to wait three and four traffic lights to get through Central Boulevard and Indiantown Road at rush hour. It’s the same thing on Donald Ross Road at the Heights neighborhood,” he said.
Adding an exit on I-95 between Donald Ross and Indiantown roads would reduce the traffic, he said.
“That would give us three exits. That amount is needed for a town the size of Jupiter,” said Klug, who likes to play flying disc golf when he is not working or spending time with his family.
On other issues:
- More Jupiter police officers are needed, he said. “With Harbourside Place opening, A1A being improved and the Briger property being developed, there are more demands on our officers.”
- Harbourside Place is an asset to Jupiter. “The town needs to continue working with (developer Nick Mastroianni) to control the sound level from the amphitheater. The music is needed as an engine for businesses to attract customers.”
- The redevelopment of the town’s funky fishing village along A1A, undergoing an $8 million renovation, will be an asset. “The redevelopment of the inlet village will bring many families to Jupiter,” he said.
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