Mayor Chris Beutler has appointed Cathy Beecham to the nine-member Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission.

Beecham, whose appointment must be approved by the City Council and the Lancaster County Board, would replace Leirion Gaylor Baird, who was elected to the council earlier this month.

Beutler is asking that Beecham fill the last few months of Gaylor Baird's current term, then serve a new six-year term beginning in September.

Beecham is a friend of Gaylor Baird and was a volunteer on her council campaign.

Beecham has done an outstanding job on the Lincoln Electric System Board, Beutler said. "Because of that experience, I think she would do an outstanding job on the planning commission."

In addition to the LES board, Beecham currently serves on the city's Historic Preservation Commission, which makes sure changes to historic areas are appropriate.

Beecham said she will give up her LES board seat if she joins the Planning Commission.

Beecham first got involved with city government when the Parks and Recreation Department was planning to renovate Sunken Gardens about 10 years ago.

The city initially planned to remove some old homes in order to expand the parking lot.

Beecham and some neighbors opposed the idea. City officials "really worked with us." The experience, she said, piqued her interest in how government works.

As part of the city's preservation committee, Beecham was asked to give ideas on what the West Haymarket ought to look like if an arena were developed there.

That helped show how thoughtful growth can contribute to a community, she said.

Planning commissioners are unpaid volunteers. The commission, which meets weekly, makes recommendations on development proposals and participates in planning for the future through updates to the county-city comprehensive plan.

Beecham has bachelor of arts degrees in English and history from the University of Arizona and a masters in archeology/anthropology from Northern Arizona University.

She is the project manager for FUSE Coworking, a business that provides workspace that can be rented by the day, month or longer for start-up companies, entrepreneurs or telecommunicators.

County commissioners are expected to vote on the appointment at their Tuesday meeting.

Beecham's appointment is on the June 3 City Council agenda.

Reach Nancy Hicks at 402-473-7250 or nhicks@journalstar.com.