Next week, voters will make their voices heard on election day.
The race for Machesney Park Village President pits current President Jerry Bolin against a current member of the village board, Steve Johnson. Johnson has 10 years of experience as village Treasurer. He’s also served two years as a trustee. He believes that gives him unique insight into running the village.
“I have the insight to know what we can do with the monies that we do have,” said Johnson.
Bolin spent four years as a trustee before being elected President four years ago. He defends a record, which has focused on infrastructure growth.
“If you look back at 2013 where the infrastructure was at that time and where it is today… you’ll see a $14.2 million infrastructure improvement,” said Bolin. “You’ll see a Meijer store, you’ll see a Chipotle, you’ll see a Noodles [& Co.].”
Johnson, however, believes the village is missing out on development of the area around I-90 and Rt. 173 by not focusing enough on retail growth. For instance, he thinks it’s the perfect location for an outlet mall.
“I think that would be a prime thing for our area for the 173, but we need signage,” said Johnson. “If you come from Janesville… there’s not a sign saying, ‘Welcome to Machesney Park.'”
But, Bolin believes the plan in place for that area will work given time.
“We need to finish off our improvements on I-90 and 173 area on the west side,” said Bolin. “We have a $22 million 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 has pushed for the addition of two more officers and more high tech tools.
“We recently just approved the new license readers for two vehicles,” said Bolin. “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 K9 dog.
“I think we need a strong K9 unit because I see where we have problems with different areas with drugs.”