The race for Village President of Machesney Park pits the incubent, Jerry Bolin, against a current member of the Village Board, Steve Johnson.
Johnson has ten years of experience as Village Treasurer and more recently two years as a Trustee, which he believes gives him unique insight into runing the village.
“That’s why I have kind of a unique qualification there that I have the insight to know what we can do with the monies that we do have,” Johnson says.
Bolin spent four years as a Trustee before being elected Village President four years ago. He defends a record which has focused on infrastructure growth, which he says has expanded business opportunities. “If you look back at 2013 where the infrastructure was at that time and where it is today in 2017, you’ll see a $14.2 million infrastructure improvement, you’ll see a Meier store, you’ll see a Chipotle, you’ll see a Noodles.”
Johnson believes however that the village is missing out on development of the area around I- 90 and 173 by not focusing enough on retail growth. For instance, he thinks it is the perfect location for an outlet mall. “… and I think that would be a prime thing for our area for the 173, but we need signage, because if you come from Janesville towards Chicago, there’s not a sign saying ‘Welcome to Machesney Park’.”
But Bolin believes the plan in place for that area will work given time. He says, “We have a $22 million dollar site there that we’ve started for new business that will break ground this summer.”
Machesney Park has a low crime rate, but both men are committed to lowering it. Bolin pushed for the addition of two more officers in the past, and wants more high tech tools. “We recently just approved the new license readers for two vehicles,” he says. “That will happen at the first part of the new budget year.”
Johnson puts forth a plan he calls ‘Working Parts’ which he says better pairs public services with community involvement. He also wants to pursue grants to get the village a K-9 dog. “I think we need a strong k-9 unit, because as a pharmacist, I see where we have problems with different areas with drugs.”
The election is April 4th, and ‘Eyewitness News’ will have up-to-the-minute returns and reaction both on-air and online.