Boy Scouts do civic duty with of Fox River Grove debate
Fox River Grove troop queries village board candidates
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At a Monday night debate arranged by Boy Scout Troop 166 in Fox River Grove, the boys asked 10 questions of the village board candidates that touched on a range of issues, including economic development, whether they'd fill all of the potholes in the village, and the board decision they agreed with the least.
Six people are running for three 4-year seats on the village board. They are: incumbents Suzanne Blohm and Michael Ireland and challengers Tom Anderson, Robert Kandler, Andrew Migdal and Chester Olencheck.
According to Scoutmaster Charley Neal, the boys wrote their own questions. They gave the candidates the first five questions 10 days before the debate and the last five the day of the debate. Their last forum was four years ago for the village president's race.
"It's all done by the boys," Neal said. "It's just important to show civic duty and giving back and learning the process of the government."
When it comes to economic development, Ireland pointed out the board has already approved a tax increment financing district for the downtown and said the board is figuring out what businesses will sustain it in the long run.
"It's all about planning," Ireland said.
Anderson said he doesn't think there should be a study done to determine what the right businesses would be for the village, but he personally doesn't want to see another party store or a gold-for-cash business. He also said the village should put together a marketing plan that highlights the schools, the Fox River and the Metra station and present it to potential merchants.
"Talk to the right businesses we want to bring to town," Anderson said.
Kandler said the Metra train station now under construction will bring new foot traffic to the village and that officials should talk to local business owners, see what they need and get a study or a committee together to bring new businesses to town.
Olencheck, who has previously run for trustee, said the village should show major corporations what Fox River Grove has to offer. He also said he'd like to see more restaurants.
Migdal said he'd work to secure more parking, which he said will be a catalyst for bringing businesses to the village.
Blohm said the board is already talking to businesses to see what it can offer with redevelopment help and is working on a parking plan. He also spoke of a need to market the downtown to developers and to outside businesses and to also enforce property maintenance standards.
When it comes to the pothole question, all of the candidates said they'd do their best to make that happen.
As for the board decision the candidates disagreed with the most, Ireland, Blohm, Olencheck and Kandler said it was the parking garage for the new public works facility that costs from $3.2 million to $3.5 million, calling it too pricey.
But Migdal and Anderson said the winter parking restrictions in which cars have to be off the streets between November and March between, no matter the weather, annoyed them the most.
"It kind of irritated me," Migdal said.
The debate, which more than 55 people attended, goes toward the boys' civics badge and fulfills one of the Eagle Scout requirements.
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