ASHLAND — City Councilwoman Alice Hardesty told her fellow council members Tuesday that she will not seek re-election in November.

ASHLAND — City Councilwoman Alice Hardesty told her fellow council members Tuesday that she will not seek re-election in November.

"I've been thinking about it for quite a while," Hardesty said following a council meeting.

She said she wants to have more time to visit her grown children, who she sees only once or twice a year, and to travel with her family. Hardesty said she also wants to take up interests that she has had to put aside, including singing.

In July 2006, Hardesty was appointed to fill the council seat vacated by the death of her husband, Jack. She then won election to the seat in November 2006. Because she is filling the remainder of a term, Hardesty would have been up for re-election in November.

"I'm going to work very hard and stay very involved for the remaining six months and then have some fun," she said.

Hardesty, who is a nationally known consultant on hearing loss, said juggling her career with council duties has been a struggle. She said she has a contract with a government agency but has still not finished the project, even after two years of work, two extensions and hiring a subcontractor to help.

Asked if the sometimes-divisive political climate in Ashland had anything to do with her decision, Hardesty responded, "No, it really doesn't, and I can say that genuinely. No, it's not that.

"The political climate is sometimes nasty. I've kind of gotten used to that. Most people in Ashland are of good will. People thank me for my service."

In a written statement, Hardesty said she was sad that the City Council has not been able to achieve her husband's goal of adopting a new downtown plan, but noted that the council has made strides in adopting a Public Arts Master Plan and identifying public art funding, improving council member relationships and efficiency and taking steps to put the city on a more sound financial footing.

She said she remains concerned about water issues, affordable housing and planning for the redevelopment of the former Croman Mill site.

Mayor John Morrison, who is also not seeking re-election, said he will miss Hardesty.

"She has a good personality," he said. "She works well with everyone."

Councilor Eric Navickas, who has a reputation for liberal political views and often voted with Hardesty, said he, too, will miss her voice on the council.

"I'm disappointed from a political position," he said. "I understand that Alice has other interests she wants to pursue. I can respect that."

Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. She can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.