Marcia Helman runs for Collins’ vacant council seatWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If Marcia Helman were to have a new campaign slogan it would be “Marcia Helman gets things done!”
The effusive 63-year-old owns and operates the Lickity Split ice cream parlor on Glendale Avenue, sits on the Walbridge Park Board and works for the Art Commission.
When she worked at the Ed Schmidt Pontiac dealership in Perrysburg as a bookkeeper several years ago, she was known as the go-to person who got things accomplished.
“Let’s just say there isn’t anything I haven’t done myself,” she said recently during an interview at the ice cream shop in South Toledo, Helman’s home district.
Helman wants to take her energy, drive and enthusiasm into the City Council District 2 seat at the May 6 primary.
This will be her second try against Democratic incumbent Mike Cherry, a business agent for a Sheet Metals Worker local, whom Council voted in 8-3 in January. The position had been vacated by Council member D. Michael Collins when he was elected mayor. The primary will decide who serves in Council for the remainder of the four-year term.
Helmen said going up against Cherry for another run does not throw her into a competitive dive. She said they are on friendly terms and can laugh and joke about who is going to beat who in the primary.
“Matt and I are friends and we talk and we talk about the campaign to each other and I look at Matt as a friend and I hope he would give me advice on Council,” she said.
“I told him he could (still) come to the ice cream store. I don’t want to lose any customers,” she joked.
She said she has introduced herself to her other competitors, businessman Joe Celusta and Toledo School Board member Bob Vasquez.
Once in office, Helman said she would want to help with redeveloping the vacant lot created when Southwyck mall was demolished.
“I definitely would be focused on [Southwyck],” Helman said. “I have truly already contacted the major on this and would be happy to be in on any talks. As vibrant as it used to be, it can be that way again. The Ragan Woods neighborhood became blighted when everything moved out.”
Helman is running as an Independent in the May 6 primary, but has been registered as a Democrat and a Republican in the past.
“I vote for who I think is the best person for the job,” Helman said.
Councilman Rob Ludeman is Helman’s campaign chairman.
“He was one of the people for years (who) said I should get involved; I should run for City Council,” she said. “I decided on my own I was going to run and I called Rob up and he said, ‘Good, I’ll be your chairman.’ He’s a good Councilmen and well-respected. And I’m glad he is working for me.”
Helman said Toledo is important to her.
“My roots are here and they’re going to be here,” she siad.
One of her roots is the Walbridge Park, where she’s vice president on the park’s advisory board. The park is in her district on Broadway Street across from the Toledo Zoo in the historic Harvard Terrance neighborhood. Billed on its website as a “gem” of Toledo and one of “the most used parks in the city,” it has scenic views of the Maumee River.
Helman is invested in the park because it brings stability to the district.
“It keeps home prices at a constant and attracts people to the neighborhood,” she said.
Part of the park’s mission is to bring diversity into its activities and trails, Helman said. The board sponsors a fall pumpkin fest, hayrides and summer concerts.
“If you put good energy out, people will come,” she said.
The park board is also considered to be the highest example of how a park board should function, Helman said. Their level of commitment gives them a great relationship to the city, she said.
Helman’s strongest relationship to District 2 is her business, the Lickity Split ice cream shop she’s owned for the past 32 years.
“I didn’t know a thing about this (business),” she said. “I was just walking by for exercise.”
Helman lived nearby and was walking by the building that at the time was a closed Mexican restaurant. She and a friend went into business together and bought the place. Thirty-two years later it’s a Toledo landmark that serves families and residents from across the city.
She said she is all for making Toledo a more friendlier place for small businesses like the mom and pop stores around Lickity Split.
Helman has a way of opening doors and airing concerns. She gets her voice heard, whether it’s talking to customers, to her employees or to what may be her future constituents.
“I’m energized by things,” Helman said. “I live in a good place.”
“I’m not ready to give up what I’m doing here,” she said, looking around the parlor. “I just really enjoy it. It’s not really like work.”
Tags: Bob Vasquez, bookkeeper, City Council, Councilman Rob Ludeman, Democrat, Democratic incumbent Mike Cherry, District 2, Ed Schmidt Pontiac dealership, hayrides, ice cream shop, Joe Celusta, Lickity Split, Marcia Helman, Maumee River, May 6. primary, Mayor D. Michael Collins, pumpkin fest, Ragan Woods, Republican, Sheet Metals Worker local, Southwyck Mall, summer concerts, the Art Commission, Toledo School Board, Walbridge Park Board