As the deadline to apply for a place on the May 11 ballot approached, candidates made a beeline to Town Hall. When the filing period ended Friday, the Glen Rose City Council race ballot was a full one. Two candidates filed for a shot at the vacant mayor's seat and four applied for a chance at two council openings.
Current council member Dennis Moore was the first to apply for a place on the ballot. Rather than seeking another term in his current seat, he upped the stakes by filing to run in the mayor's race.
When asked about his priorities, Moore said he strives to lead a city government which offers the best services, is budget-minded and business friendly.
The race became a contested one after Eric Belanger filed in the final week.
An employee of Chalk Mountain Services, Belanger moved to Somervell County about seven years ago and more recently moved inside the city limits.
Belanger said he loves Glen Rose, and protecting it is what inspires his first bid for office.
Raised in a military family, Belanger said his "very aggressive" philosophy is deeply rooted in that upbringing. He said he believes the city could benefit from some of those ideals.
"If I spend $20, I expect $20 in results," he said.
If those results don't come soon, Belanger says it could be too late.
"This city is having a cardiac arrest," he said. "The square is the heart of the city. If you have a dead heart, the rest of the body dies."
One idea Belanger favors for reviving the city includes offering a break to business owners.
"Frankly, I don't care if businesses pay any (property) taxes," he said. "If stores are doing business, we are getting sales tax."
Belanger also said once storefronts have something to offer tourists, the city will flourish.
"Let's get away from torturing people in our town and get cash from tourists," he said, adding enhancing the river and digging deeper for fossil remains are two ways to bring in more visitors.
Belanger also said if elected, he will look at restructuring the convention and visitors bureau.
"We really need to wake up this town," he said.
Meanwhile, the race is on for the two council seats currently held by Moore and Mayor-Pro Tem Bob Stricklin.
Mike Jones, a local business owner and candidate in the 2012 race for Texas House of Representative District 59, put his name in the hat just prior to the deadline Friday.
Jones is member of the Glen Rose Chamber of Commerce board of directors who has also served on the school board and various commissions. Jones said such service is the "responsibility of every citizen."
With the door to council chambers open, Jones said he is taking the opportunity to affect city policy. He said with growth en route to Glen Rose, he's ready to help foster it, while at the same time managing city affairs in a manner that benefits citizens and their quality of life.
Former council member and retiree Sue Oldenburg was not successful in her 2012 bid for re-election, but her desire to serve the city has not wavered. She attends council meetings regularly and is a common face at other meetings across the county.
"I am interested in remaining involved," Oldenburg said. "Attending meetings keeps me connected. I don't know how anyone can serve on the council if they don't know what's happening with the city."
Oldenburg has resided in the city for six years, and said she has a strong desire to see it prosper.
Laverne West also made an unsuccessful bid for council last year, and her platform remains the same.
"I would like to see us get back to basics," West said.
She is employed as a clients benefits coordinator with Pecan Valley Centers for Behavioral and Developmental Health, but she has worn many hats.
In addition to her current career, West said she has almost three decades of accounting experience. She is also a business owner, who has been involved in sales for 25 years, making her sensitive to struggles facing other business owners.
West has been a local resident for 15 years, and said she wants more for Glen Rose.
"I think it's time for a change," she said. "We have pretty much had the same faces (representing the city) for a while."
Local businessman and Glen Rose native Danny Chambers currently serves on the 4-B Tax Advisory Board. After moving away from the city for some time, Chambers returned in the mid-1980s.
When asked what motivates his campaign, Chambers said he's driven by financial accountability.
"In the current economy, every city, county and state and even the federal government should be required to account for every penny spent," Chambers said. "We need to reel in and bring down spending."
While Chambers believes in a no-nonsense financial approach, he remains open-minded and understands progress requires expending funds.
"But we have to spend wisely," he said.
As the owner of two local RV parks and manager of others outside the city, Chambers said he's well aware of tourism's impact on the business community.
Early voting begins April 29.